Jardim keeping the faith in Monaco
AS Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim insisted he has not lost faith as the Ligue 1 Conforama title-holders prepare to play for their UEFA Champions League lives on Wednesday.
Wednesday, 1 November, 2017
UEFA Champions League, Group G
Besiktas JK - AS Monaco
In addition to storming to the French title last season, Monaco also reached the semi-finals of European football's premier club competition, losing to eventual runners-up Juventus.
Those heady days seem a world away as Jardim leads his men to Turkey to face unbeaten section leaders Besiktas JK bottom of Group G with just one point from three continental clashes.
"This is my fourth year here. I have believed during these four years and I still believe. We have played in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, we have won Ligue 1, we have belief. My players should keep believing. We have three games. Three games can mean a lot," said Jardim.
"Yes, we still have hope," added forward Keita Baldé. "We have ambition. We want to qualify."
Baldé, who scored in last weekend's 2-0 league win over Girondins de Bordeaux, will provide the visitors' main attacking threat in Istanbul with Radamel Falcao absent due to a thigh injury.
The Colombia international will be joined on the sidelines by full-back Djibril Sidibé with the vastly-experienced Andrea Raggi set to make his Champions League bow this season.
The Italian's introduction into the side has coincided with back-to-back clean sheets in the French top flight, and Jardim acknowledged his team, who have conceded five goals in their last two European outings, are now more difficult to break down.
"We defended better in the last two games, but defending is not just the responsibility of the back four and the goalkeeper," he said. "It is important for the whole team to take responsibility and hold the ball more. We will reap the results when the whole team keeps doing that."