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Monaco coach Jardim up for the fight despite poor start to season

Monaco (AFP) – Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim insists he will not walk away from the club after their dreadful start to the season continued on Tuesday.

The principality side slumped to a 1-0 home defeat against Angers, leaving the 2017 champions without a win in six league matches since beating Nantes on the opening weekend of the campaign.

The Angers defeat was played out in front of a sparse crowd of just 5,502 at the Stade Louis II, but the home fans who did turn out booed their team off, and Monaco are languishing in 16th place in Ligue 1.

“This is my fifth year in Monaco, but I think I am still getting my message across,” said Jardim on Wednesday, after seeing his team fail to muster a shot on target against Angers.

“We are going through a difficult time, but there have been others, like in my first year when we had a very difficult start but managed to lift ourselves and bounce back.”

Monaco again lost a host of key players in the close season, as has become customary at a club whose business model is centred around investing in talented youngsters who are then sold on at a profit.

The list of those who have left since Monaco’s title triumph last year, when they also reached the Champions League semi-finals, is remarkable.

Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Mendy, Fabinho, Joao Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Thomas Lemar and Valere Germain — all regulars in that side — have been sold.

Against Angers, the only key members of the title-winning team to feature were skipper Radamel Falcao and the defensive trio of Jemerson, Kamil Glik and Djibril Sidibe.

Meanwhile, a summer spending spree headed by the signing of Russian World Cup star Aleksandr Golovin has not yet produced positive results for a club owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev.

Monaco play Saint-Etienne this weekend and Jardim added: “The expectations at Monaco are high, as they are for the new signings.

“Everyone knows the context at Monaco. We don’t have 50,000 people in the stadium insulting the players, or 300 coming to the training ground and smashing in cars, but we need to be aware of what we represent.”

It is all very dispiriting for the highly-regarded Jardim, but he says he is up for the fight.

“I have a year left on my contract. I have always respected my contract,” said the 44-year-old.

“I have had opportunities to leave but chose to stay. I am not going to escape now.”

Monaco also lost to Atletico Madrid in their opening Champions League match and their hopes of progressing to the last 16 may depend on picking up a positive result at Borussia Dortmund next week.

Meanwhile, if challenging Paris Saint-Germain for the title was never a realistic objective, it will still be galling that they can find themselves 15 points behind the capital side on Wednesday evening, should Thomas Tuchel’s team beat Reims.

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