Djibril Sidibé has paid tribute to his coach Niko Kovac for turning AS Monaco into Ligue 1 Uber Eats title contenders ahead of their meeting with Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday night.
Monaco could close the gap to league leaders LOSC to just two points if they prevail against Lyon - something they did with a 2-0 win as recently as the Coupe de France quarter-finals less than two weeks ago - and Sidibé credits Kovac for getting the principality side in such a position.
"Well yes, we run so much!" he explained to French sports daily, l'Equipe. "We've been working for 10 months, hard work. The coach transformed us."
Sidibé was part of the Monaco team who won Ligue 1 Uber Eats in 2016/17 under Leonardo Jardim, alongside the likes of Kylian Mbappé, Radamel Falcao and Bernardo Silva. Back at the club after a year in England with Everton, he is relieved to see Monaco mixing it at the top after league finishes of second, 17th, ninth and third following that halcyon season.
"When you're at Monaco, it's your duty to finish on the podium," he said. "Of course, we had some wobbles at the start of the season. It wasn't cool, we made mistakes, but we brainstormed. We had to do more tactically, technically, physically.
"Today, when we recap our games with video, you can see six players trying to win the ball back, like ants! It was difficult but we bought into it. If I showed you the GPS results, you'd be shocked. It's as if we have one more player than the opposition."