Nice vs Monaco - Favre wary of much-changed Monaco



Posted Friday, September 08, 2017 by PA

Nice head coach Lucien Favre will not be fooled into underestimating Ligue 1 champions Monaco following their summer of high-profile player departures.

Ahead of Saturday's Derby de la Cote d'Azur at Nice's Allianz Riviera stadium, Monaco have sold title-winners Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Valere Germain.

And in what might prove to be the most significant switch away from the principality, young France striker Kylian Mbappe last week joined Paris St Germain on an initial season-long loan deal.

Monaco have, however, done good business in the transfer market, recruiting Lazio star Keita Balde, highly-rated Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans and the likes of Terence Kongolo and Stevan Jovetic.

Favre, who masterminded a 4-0 thrashing of Monaco in this fixture last season, knows all too well that Les Rouges et Blancs have built their recent success on more than a collection of star names.

He told ogcnice.com: "They have invested a lot in the squad. Replacing players like Silva and Mbappe is difficult, but they have done so by recruiting players who fit perfectly into their system.

"(Joao) Moutinho was already there, and he provides almost half of their goals, also making a lot of tackles.

"Players fit into their system - the 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 with two wingers, which I love - very quickly.

"They play beautifully. But we never adapt to face specific teams, instead we prepare for matches in an attempt to win them."

Recalling the shock result at the Riviera last September, Favre said: "It's a happy memory but also a thing of the past.

"We enjoyed a great success, we played well, but everything changes and this year will be different."

Favre's positive prognosis for Monaco appears to be well-founded as the south-coast outfit are joint top with PSG after winning all four of their opening games.

Boss Leonardo Jardim wants to move on, too.

"All those players did an important job for the team," he told L'Equipe. "But I'm not interested in talking about players who have left.

"I'm happy for them that they have achieved their goals of moving away. My work continues with those who remain."

On Nice, who boast only three points from a possible 12, he added: "(Wesley) Sneijder has arrived and everyone knows about his qualities.

"They have struggled at the start of this season but derbies are special matches, even the worst-ranked teams can win them, with so much passion surrounding the game.

"I have told my players that it will be necessary to concentrate and go there with the attitude of winners. It will be good preparation for the Champions League because it is like a European match."

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