AS Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim gave his first press conference following the end of an explosive transfer window. In full:
What does Monaco take away from this transfer window?
I am happy that it is over for two reasons. The first reason is because the comparisons with our team from last year to this year are finished. In terms of the team we had last year, we have lost 5 starting players, three of the top scorers (Falcao, Riviere and James), our top assist maker (James) and our captain (Abidal). The second reason is that the group can finally settle and work. The players are concentrated on their work.
That suggests that your team has weakened since last season. Was that anticipated?
No, what I was trying to say is that this is a different team. It is difficult to evaluate quality. Compared with last year, we have more quality youngsters. Players who, I am sure in the future, will become very good players. But I cannot say that the team is better or worse: just that it is a team with quality.
The project in front of you seems totally different to the one that you were presented with upon your arrival…
Our vice-president, Vadim Vasilyev, was already clear about the project and explained that it had change. Our work has now become focused on this new project, which is to work as hard as possible every day to get the best possible results. Initially, the aim was to be more ambitious. But the project has lost a little bit of strength because the the team is a bit different. But it remains ambitious and we will do whatever we can to play within our means and achieve our objectives.
Tactically, have you changed things?
It is true that the team cannot expose itself so offensively. At the beginning we wanted to play in a more attacking style than before. Now, we are looking for a more balanced team, that can divide up the play and perhaps not control the ball in all our games.
You seem very calm. Are you not cut up at all inside?
A manager is not brought in to speak or create internal problems within the club. A manager is brought in to work. That is my principal function. Of course if we had been able to sign other players, it would have been nice to bring in a few new elements to the team. We are here to do better, to work with the players that are at our disposal and I am here to represent Monaco with dignity.
Is there an age problem with your team?
No, it is not a problem. Generally, teams have players between the ages of 23 and 30. We, we have players below the age of 23 and above the age of 30. We have good players who will progress in the future under the guidance of the more experienced players.
How will you be approaching this trip to Lyon on Friday night?
We are on our way to picking up points. We are working a lot to win all our matches. All the teams are good in Ligue 1. Lyon is a big team that has won the league seven times recently. We respect them, but we will do everything to take 3 points.
Your Champions League campaign kicks off next Wednesday against Bayer Leverkusen. What sort of reception are you expecting from the fans?
For the Champions League, our vice-president was clear: we want to make a good account of ourselves, honour AS Monaco, the Principality and our supporters, even if they are not numerous, but the true supporters.