Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim claimed the appointment of referee Nicola Rizzoli for his side’s UEFA Champions League clash with Valencia has given him confidence.
Jardim was unimpressed by Mark Clattenburg’s performance in the Champions League play-off first leg in Valencia, with the English official and his team missing an apparent penalty decision with 17 minutes remaining at the Mestalla Stadium.
Valencia led 2-1 at the time, with Sofiane Feghouli scoring in the 86th minute for the La Liga club to give them a two-goal lead heading into Tuesday’s second leg in Monaco.
Jardim took another thinly veiled swipe at Clattenburg at a news conference on Monday when he hailed the appointment of Italy’s Rizzoli, who took charge of the World Cup final last year.
“I’ve checked who is going to be the referee. I know that it’s going to be a good one who has a great career with experienced at the international level,” Jardim said.
“I hope that tomorrow he will do a good job. That’s important for everyone, for Monaco, for France, for the Europe, for the UEFA and the FIFA.
“I always check anyway the name of the referee and this time it gave me confidence.”
Only goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, captain Jeremy Toulalan and central defender Wallace started both the loss to Valencia and Monaco’s 1-1 draw at Toulouse on Saturday.
Jardim indicated the majority of the line-up that started at the Mestalla would return at the Stade Louis II.
“We will have no choice but to make some changes within the squad. Our team will play eight games in August,” the Portuguese coach said.
“As you know, at that time of the season the fitness is not yet at the level requested. So early in the season, it demands of the players a huge energy level. We need to work in order to avoid injuries.
“In my opinion, there are only a few teams that could play as many games in August. In regards of the team that will face Valencia tomorrow, I think that the players that played in the first leg were not too bad. Many of them should also play the second leg.”