In recent times, AS Monaco have boasted the second-best home record in the French top flight, yet the club still endeavour to solidify their fortress and make it a more daunting prospect for their opposition.
Since early September, Monaco have lost only once at the Stade Louis II. In that time, they have amassed 15 wins and five draws in all competitions, a record only bettered by French Champions PSG.
Victories in their last five home matches in Ligue 1 have also propelled them to the brink of Champions League football next season. Attaining a step on that podium, whilst an incredible achievement in itself, especially given the context of their often fluctuating season, also contributes to a larger, more long-term objective of manager Philippe Clement.
“One of my objectives is to have even more fans in the stadium to support the players and create a big atmosphere,” Clement told Monaco Life. Although few things are more attractive for fans than the prospect of playing Europe’s elite, a guarantee should Monaco qualify for the Champions League this weekend, Clement is also focused on his side’s style of play.
“It’s up to us as well to play a style of football that pleases all of the supporters who come to the match and to also obtain good results. When you do that with an offensive style and you win lots of matches, there will always be more supporters,” said Clement.
Currently, Monaco average the lowest attendance in Ligue 1, although that doesn’t necessarily have a bearing on the atmosphere inside the ground as Clement found out. “When we’re at home, the supporters are behind us. The stadium isn’t yet full and that is one of the goals, for everyone here, for the players and the staff, to have more supporters in the stadium, but the supporters that are there are all highly engaged with the club,” he said.
The former Club Brugge manager added, “The stadium has a more heated atmosphere than I thought before coming here.” The players themselves also feel that atmosphere on the pitch, as defender Benoît Badiashile revealed: “It’s really pleasant to play here. At the Stade Louis II, we want to show that we’re at home and that the opposition won’t have chances to win.”
The French U21 international continued, “Having come through the ranks at the club, it’s really an honour to play at the stadium.”
Although Monaco have constructed an almost impenetrable bastion this season, the club clearly see increasing attendance as a way of shoring up their defences. Whilst proposing an attractive style of play will certainly entice more fans to flock to the Stade Louis II, Champions League qualification will provide the key to unlocking the stadium’s potential. Few things rival the fervour of those European nights under those iconic Monaco arches.
Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life