Jardim: Monaco won’t start season as favourites

The loss of several key players has rendered the French champions vulnerable ahead of the new Ligue 1 season, admits head coach Leonardo Jardim.

Jardim, who is facing the increasingly likely scenario of losing star forward Kylian Mbappe, spoke to reporters about the challenges his side will come up against in defending their league crown. 

With the departure of Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Benjamin Mendy, Valere Germain and Nabil Dirar, Jardim is under no small amount of pressure to retain the services of the 18-year old striker.

Amidst reports that Real Madrid are preparing a €180m bid for Mbappe, the manager joked with reporters about how he intends to protect his star player.

“In training, I use shin guards to protect him!” Jardim said. “Kylian is a Monaco player and he has worked well in recent weeks to regain his level of last year.

“He has that ambition, and I think [on Saturday] he will work a lot, defensively and offensively,” he added in reference to his club’s first competitive match of the season – the Trophee des Champions against Paris Saint-Germain.

“We will start this match with the title of champions and we come out of a big season, but Monaco can never be considered the favourites,” Jardim continued. “We have the ambition to win, of course, it is a final, either you lose or you win.

“Theoretically, we are more fragile with the departures of Mendy, Bernardo, Germain, Dirar, Bakayoko, but the same thing happened two years ago,” he explained.

“The young players who are coming will help us. During the pre-season, we gave the opportunity to all the people who can help us this season,” Jardim added.

Go to Source