Monday, June 26, 2017

Jardim already eyeing quarter-finals

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 Nov 2016

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Leonardo Jardim is already training Monaco’s sights on reaching the Champions League quarter-finals after they secured their last-16 spot as Group E winners on Tuesday.

Monaco defeated Tottenham 2-1 at Stade Louis II, just reward for a dominant performance that would have delivered a more emphatic scoreline were it not for the heroics of Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

After Lloris – formerly of Monaco’s great rivals Nice – had saved Radamel Falcao’s first-half penalty, the home side took the lead early in the second period through Djibril Sidibe, only to be swiftly pegged back by Harry Kane’s spot-kick.

But Monaco were not deterred, regaining their advantage a little over 30 seconds later through Thomas Lemar, leaving Jardim delighted at entering December’s draw as group winners.

“I’m very happy with the qualification, with top spot in the group, and with the team’s performance,” he said.

“It’s already a very good Champions League season as the first two objectives have been attained.

“Now we have a third objective: qualifying for the quarter-finals.

“My players have shown a lot of quality over the last four months and have played with great intensity. I would like to congratulate them. Now we must recover well and keep our intensity at this level.”

Sidibe, meanwhile, believes sealing top spot with a group fixture still to play is testament to Monaco’s attacking philosophy.

“I’m always happy to put in a good display. We saw how good the spirit is within the team tonight,” he said.

“The most important thing is that we’ve qualified and what shines through is that we’ve got a team that wants to play attacking football, something we proved again in this match as we attacked from the off.

“We stayed focused and we knew that sooner or later we’d get chances and we stuck them away.

“It’s great that we’re going through as group winners and that’s something we’re going to savour before thinking about our future ambitions in this competition.”

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