New boss Kovac wants Monaco to ‘top the bill’ again

Monaco (AFP) – Newly-appointed Monaco coach Niko Kovac said on Tuesday he wants to guide the club back to the top table of European football.

Former Bayern Munich and Croatia boss Kovac replaced the sacked Robert Moreno at the weekend.

The principality side finished in ninth place after the Ligue 1 was campaign was declared over due to the coronavirus pandemic and will miss out on next term’s Champions League.

“Monaco must play at the international level and get back to topping the bill. You know what that means,” the 48-year-old said as he was presented to the media.

Kovac will work under vice-president Oleg Petrov and sporting director Paul Mitchell who arrived last month.

The club have sold the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva for substantial fees since they last won the Ligue 1 title in 2017, and finished two points above the relegation zone last season.

“Paul and Oleg told me they would do what’s needed to have a strong team. I believe them. It’s the reason I signed for Monaco,” Kovac said.

“I trust them and I believe in this club. I want to thank president Dmitry Rybolovlev. They have all trusted me. I wish to give something back. I’m going to work tirelessly to do the most and reach our goals,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Petrov said bringing Kovac in underlines their ambition.

Kovac was sacked by Bayern last November after leading them to a domestic double in his first season in charge.

“It’s a strong choice that shows our desire and ambition to do as much as possible to reach our goal: to make Monaco a successful club,” Petrov said.

“It’s a significant, assumed change aligned with the strategy of the squad. To re-inforce our ability, to sustainably build to reach our long-term objectives,” the Russian added.

Mitchell was technical director for Red Bull’s stable of clubs including Kovac’s former side Salzburg.

“Since my arrival we analysed and exchanged in objective and subjective ways. The decision was made to change. We quickly thought about Niko. We had never met but we had a lot of contact in common, in Germany, or at Red Bull,” Mitchell said.

Kovac’s first game in charge is Wednesday’s pre-season friendly at Standard Liege before a week-long camp in Poland.

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