Jemerson: 'Raise our own game'

Ligue 1 Conforama > Interviews

Early-season standout Jemerson talks exclusively about title defence, the improving quality of Ligue 1 Conforama, rivalry with Paris Saint-Germain and the growing Brazilian enclave in the principality… Interview.

A better start to the season you could not wish for... Monaco centre-back Jemerson has hit the ground running, scoring in each of the first two rounds and thus equalling his tally from last term.

Eyes on the prize

Crowned champions for an eighth time in the spring, Monaco have won the first two games of their title defence. But the 24-year-old Brazilian knows there is a long way to go.

"When you win a title, of course your aim is to try to keep it, even if we know that it will be difficult. It's always very hard to win the league title back to back," Jemerson told The Ligue 1 Show on beIN SPORTS. "We will have to be even more motivated and even more focused if we are to pull it off for a second season running."

On the up and up

And this year, after a busy summer in France, the rivals look even stronger. Neymar has joined PSG, Wesley Sneijder is at Nice... and the likes of Lille - now coached by Marcelo Bielsa - and Florian Thauvin's Marseille are showing real ambition.

"Ever since I arrived in France the championship has been improving and becoming more attractive," said the 24-year-old, who is entering into his third Ligue 1 Conforama campaign. "This season is going to be very interesting. You can sense that teams like Bordeaux, Marseille and Lille are going to be strong and the level will be high. It's good for Ligue 1, and it's good for the players as well because it pushes us to raise our own game."

Neck and neck

Jemerson has doubts as to which side is likely to pose Monaco the biggest problems. However, Paris Saint-Germain will be desperate to regain their crown and have already underlined their determination by beating Monaco 2-1 in season curtain-raiser the Trophée des Champions. Jemerson, though, draws confidence from the fact he hasn't been on the losing side in any of his three league matches against the Parisians.

"It's always special when we play PSG; it's a special game," explained the stopper. "Sometimes we manage to win, but it's always difficult. It has become a rivalry quite naturally really, because we have been the two best teams in recent years. If one of us finishes first, the other is usually second. I think it's a rivalry that will become even more important."

It's a samba-off

At the heart of the rivalry is a cluster of highly talented Brazilians. With Neymar and Dani Alves joining, PSG now have five members of the Selecaõ among their number. Monaco, for their part, boast four gifted young Brazilians, including this former Atletico Mineiro stopper, who is thriving on the French Riviera.

"It's true that Brazilian players keep on coming to Monaco. Fabinho has been here for a while now, but we also have Boschilia and Jorge," explained a beaming Jemerson, who has been showing off his Brazilian pedigree in the opening weeks of the season, opening his goalscoring account in Week 1 before hitting an overhead goal-of-the-season contender in the 4-1 win over Dijon last Sunday. "We hope to write a great story here, and win some trophies together with Monaco."

Jemerson's AS Monaco travel to FC Metz for the opening match of Ligue 1 Conforama's Week 3 on Friday night.


>> FEATURE PREVIEW: Metz braced for Monaco goal menace

>> PRE-MATCH STATS: FC Metz - AS Monaco



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