We’re all set to take on Monaco at Stade Louis II this evening (Tuesday, November 22, 7.45pm UK time) on matchday five, with victory a must if we’re to retain realistic hope of progressing to the knockout stages.
Depending on the results in Group E later, matters could end up being decided on December 7 when we meet CSKA Moscow at Wembley, but for Mauricio, victory in tonight’s game is very much the priority.
“This is a decisive game for us, we must win now,” said the manager, who has seen us pick up all four of our group stage points thus far away from home.
“We’ve missed a lot of points at home and that’s difficult for us now. It’s true, we have to take three points against Monaco and then CSKA. Our first final is tonight.”
Confidence in the camp is high ahead of kick-off, thanks to Saturday’s memorable late comeback against West Ham United in the Premier League. Mauricio believes that result was a timely one in the build-up to our clash with Ligue 1 high-fliers Monaco tonight.
“We know everything was good after the weekend – a great victory against West Ham to lift us, to recover that winning feeling,” he added. “It’s very important for us now. We know we must win and take the three points if we want to go to the next round.
“Monaco is a very good team, challenging for the Ligue 1 title, but I think we have good momentum too. This is a game we can win, we believe in our skill and our possibility. It’s true that Monaco will be tough, they are a very good team and we can see that from the game at Wembley. It’s for that reason it’s all about mentality, all about belief to score goals and try to play better.”
Mauricio on returning to winning ways against West Ham
“It’s massive for our confidence, massive energy for us and the way we won the game was fantastic. It wasn’t our best game but it’s true we deserved it over the 96 minutes. It was good for us to recover that feeling. Now we’re at a very good emotional level and that is good when you need to play a final like we have against Monaco.”
On small details deciding games in Europe
“It’s true, for me not only in the Champions League but the Premier League as well – and every competition. Today, with the technology, we know each other very well and it’s for that reason all the tiny details are important to get a positive result. Small details and being focused are very important in this type of game.”