Best form of defence is attack as Deschamps seeks early goal

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Monaco will not change their attacking style for tonight's Champions' League semi-final, their manager, Didier Deschamps, said yesterday. Despite protecting a 3-1 lead from the first leg, Deschamps said he wanted his players to score an early goal to "put the tie very much in our favour".

Monaco will not change their attacking style for tonight's Champions' League semi-final, their manager, Didier Deschamps, said yesterday. Despite protecting a 3-1 lead from the first leg, Deschamps said he wanted his players to score an early goal to "put the tie very much in our favour".

Most observers would argue that was already the case although Deschamps' avowed tactics should encourage Chelsea's coach, Claudio Ranieri, as he tries to overturn the deficit. However, given Monaco are the competition's top scorers - 25 goals in 11 games - they may well be able to fulfil their orders.

"We're not going to change our style," Deschamps, the former Chelsea player said on his return to Stamford Bridge for a training session last night. "We've obviously got to know how to defend. But our team has not got the type of players to go out resolutely and just defend, defend, defend. The important thing is to look to score a goal."

Despite holding the advantage, Deschamps said he would not be "working on anything special". He added: "It is important to keep the same mentality. I don't want to change my players - they have done a very good job in the Champions' League this year. I want them to keep going and make something very special. It is a young team with young players. We do not have a lot of experience but all the players are ready to fight and give their best."

Deschamps is acutely aware that this year the Champions' League has been the year of the comeback. His own team over-turned a 4-2 deficit against Real Madrid, of course. Going further back, to the quarter-finals in 2000, and the World Cup winner was in the Chelsea side which went to Barcelona protecting a 3-1 advantage - only to be knocked out in extra time. "It is not a good memory for me," Deschamps admitted. That is why he is insistent that attack will be the best form of defence. His captain, Ludovic Giuly, agreed. "We have to go out and win the game," he said. "The fact that we are 3-1 up does not change our attitude."

And that attitude has been one of defiance. Apart from the comeback against Madrid, Monaco have also pulled back deficits in two recent contests including, most arrestingly, drawing with Ajaccio after trailing 3-0 and, last Friday, winning the so-called Riviera derby after conceding an early goal to Nice. That victory brought them back into the race for the French championship, although it came at a price. Both the striker Dado Prso and the influential Jerome Rothen were injured although they were able to train last night and Deschamps said he would wait until the "last minute" before deciding whether to risk them. In any event Deschamps is likely to deploy the excellent Fernando Morientes as a lone striker with Guily in support. His other option is to start with the dangerous, injury-free Shabani Nonda.

Once more Deschamps - a much-coveted coach who has been constantly linked to another of his former clubs, Juventus - was asked if he had any sympathy for the pressure Ranieri is under. "It is normal," he replied. "All the coaches want to live the same sensation. The pressure is part of my job and it is normal. But it is a good pressure for me and Ranieri as well. We both have a good opportunity to qualify."

Monaco arrived in good spirits. Deschamps has just been named French coach of the year and five of his players - including Guily - were voted into Ligue 1's team of the year. And although they have not won in their last four Champions' League away games they also know that they don't have to do that tonight. One goal may be enough.

Comments