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Jardim applauds players as Monaco plot 'huge result'

Monaco's loss from a winning position at Man. City might have prompted a terse reaction from Leonardo Jardim but instead he praised his team's part in an "incredible" tie that is still not over.

Jardim applauds players as Monaco plot 'huge result'
Jardim applauds players as Monaco plot 'huge result' ©AFP/Getty Images

Usually after conceding five goals, coaches come into post-match press conferences with a thunderous look, and questions are dealt with as expediently as possible. Leonardo Jardim's demeanour was far removed from that as he talked with pride at having taken part in "one of the most incredible matches in the Champions League this season" and said he had "congratulated" his players.

Indeed, the Monaco boss refused to berate his charges after a breathless round of 16 encounter at Manchester City – despite an uncustomary goalkeeping error from Danijel Subašić for Sergio Agüero's first, and his team shipping two goals from corners – instead referring to "small mistakes".

If anything, the visiting players were harsher on themselves in the aftermath of their remarkable 5-3 defeat, with midfielder Bernardo Silva admitting: "The two goals we conceded from corners were avoidable. Without those, we would still have had our say in the match."

Radamel Falcao scored brilliantly but missed a pen
Radamel Falcao scored brilliantly but missed a pen©Getty Images

Instead, Jardim focused on the entertainment value of the highest-scoring first leg in a UEFA Champions League knockout tie. "It was great for the fans inside the stadium and those watching on TV as I'm sure they were happy to watch such quality attacks and eight goals," the Portuguese said. "We played really well and I've congratulated the players. We made small defensive mistakes and the turning point was missing the penalty to go 3-1 up."

Jardim's gamble in giving 18-year-old Kylian Mbappé his first start in the competition paid off when the pacy attacker claimed a delightful first-half goal as Monaco moved onto a scarcely believable 111 goals netted in all competitions this season. That offensive prowess, with Radamel Falcao in prime form despite his penalty miss, ensures the principality club are still optimistic they will qualify for the quarter-finals.

Full-back Benjamin Mendy commented: "We'll stay united as a team and try to pull off a huge result at home. There's still hope for us. This was a crazy match and who says it can't be the same in our home leg."

Teenager Kylian Mbappé joined in the goal fest
Teenager Kylian Mbappé joined in the goal fest©Getty Images

Brazilian defender Jemerson will return from suspension to bolster the Monaco back line on 15 March. Defend better and the Ligue 1 leaders have every chance of reaching the last eight for the second time in three seasons, as even City boss Josep Guardiola expects ASM to score at Stade Louis II.

The admirative Spaniard said: "If any team is capable of scoring a thousand million goals it is Monaco. If we don't score in the second leg then we will be eliminated."