PARIS (AP) — Robert Moreno is straight into the deep end in his first managerial role at club level, with Monaco facing back-to-back league games against dominant Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).
Monaco travels to Paris on Sunday January 12 before facing the defending champion three days later in a rearranged fixture. Monaco, which is owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, is in seventh place after recovering from a difficult start.
Moreno will be tasked with trying to close the five-point gap on third place — which secures a berth in the Champions League qualifying rounds — although the 10-point gap to Marseille in second spot and automatic qualification remains a long shot.
Moreno, who had a brief spell in charge of Spain during the qualifiers for next year’s European Championship, is not concerned about his inexperience at managerial level.
“I don’t think it will change much for me,” the 42-year-old Spaniard said. “Over the past nine years I was an assistant, I took part in all the decision-making in a team playing at the top level, the only difference being that the visible face was someone else.”
Besides, Monaco’s insistence made him feel valued.
“I received a lot of offers after I left the national team. The project presented to me by Monaco was the best, offered me the most guarantees,” he said. “I felt like I was their first option, that’s what motivated me.”
He’s getting a crash-course introduction to the French league against free-scoring PSG.
The defending champion is seven points clear of Marseille, with a game in hand. Coach Thomas Tuchel is starting games with four forwards: Kylian Mbappé, Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi.
This is an even more frightening prospect considering Monaco’s shaky defense is among the weakest, with 26 goals conceded in 18 games.