AS Monaco suffered a heavy defeat against Montpellier (0-4) at the Stade Louis II, conceding further ground in the race to secure Champions League football for next season.
A reaction was needed – and expected – from Philippe Clement’s side after last weekend’s damming loss against RC Lens (0-3). Whilst there were signs of intent in the opening exchanges, they dissipated quickly, and after going one behind through a goal from Arnaud Nordin, there was, in the words of the Belgian manager, “an implosion”.
The team were suddenly incapable of making the simplest passes. In trying to fight fires across a rain-drenched Louis II pitch, the structure of the team evaporated.
“We have to look at ourselves in the mirror.”
Clement’s triple substitution at half-time had no effect on proceedings. Quite the opposite. Elye Wahi continued to wreak havoc and set up Faitout Maouassa for Montpellier’s second.
Nordin then doubled his account with another curled effort and Englishman Stephy Mavididi scored in back-to-back games to round off the scoring to a chorus of boos.
When it rains it pours: Monaco have conceded seven goals with no reply in their last two games, and their hopes of reaching the podium dwindle.
“After the first goal, there was a mental implosion,” bemoaned Clement. “Some no longer believed, others tried to force things. We lost everything: structure, aggression and strength in the duels… We have to look at ourselves in the mirror after this match. It’s up to us to bounce back and show that we deserve to be in Europe,” he continued.
The Belgian coach also suggested that repeating such poor collective performances could have a negative effect on the ambitions of some players, who are looking for a “big transfer” in the summer. Axel Disasi, Youssouf Fofana and Vanderson have notably been linked with moves.
“It’s important for the players [to bounce back] as well. If we continue like this, it will be difficult for them to make the big transfers, which are probably in some of their heads now. Today, they’re here and under contract. No one, be it a player or a member of staff, can leave the stadium with a good feeling,” said Clement.
Monaco were looking ahead, but are perhaps now looking over their shoulders. By Tuesday, third place may be eight points away, whilst Lille are just two points behind. Their fourth place is under threat, and only a win will do against already-relegated Angers next Sunday.
Photo by AS Monaco