By Matt Spiro in Monaco
AS Monaco FC may have lost their 100 per cent record in this season's UEFA Champions League against RC Deportivo La Coruña on Matchday 3, but the Ligue 1 leaders still left the Riazor with their heads held high after suffering a slender 1-0 loss.
Bang on track
The result left the side from the principality in second place in Group C with six points from three games. Therefore, a win in the return tonight at the Stade Louis II will keep Didier Deschamps' side on track for a place in the last 16.
Despite their promising form, Ludovic Giuly, captain of the seven-times French champions, is keeping calm, however. "We know we are not far off, but we are not going to get carried away," he told uefa.com. "
One good performance in Deportivo does not mean we are ready to start rivalling the top clubs. We are a young team and for the moment we are enjoying the adventure. Deportivo are old, wily campaigners who are capable of going all the way in the Champions League. We are certainly not there yet."
Giuly, who was on target on Matchday 2 against AEK Athens FC, admitted that defeat had been hard to stomach in the Riazor after such an accomplished display. "We put in a terrific performance and felt that we deserved a draw at the very least," he said. "Deportivo are one of the biggest teams in Europe and for most of the game we more than matched them. But we didn’t take our chances and in the end made one small mistake and paid for it.
'We have to be realistic'
"That's the Champions League for you, though. We have to make sure we learn our lesson quickly." Optimism that his side have absorbed the lessons of two weeks ago is spurring the 27-year-old French international on. "I think we can win and the whole team is very determined to get the three points," he said. "We are at home so hopefully we can get the right result. We just have to be realistic and try to go as far in the competition as we can."
'They know each other so well'
Such realism extends to an honest appraisal of the resources at Monaco's disposal. "They [Deportivo] have a huge squad," Giuly pointed out. "Against us in the first match they were able to bring on three top-class strikers and in the end that is what won them the game. Most of their players have been together for a good five years - they know each other so well.
Champions League experience
"They also have the experience of playing in the Champions League season after season. We have some great young talent.
If we can keep everyone together and continue to qualify for the Champions League, then we could become a force like Deportivo in a few years."
Giuly, who has been with Monaco since 1998, has no hesitation in picking out the players he believes stand between Monaco and victory tonight. "I know Diego Tristán because we came across him when we played against [RCD] Mallorca," he said. "He was a top striker then and we'll have to be careful of him. [But] if we get the win on Wednesday, then we will have nine points and that will really take the pressure off for the match against PSV [Eindhoven]."
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