Thiago Scuro joined AS Monaco a year ago and in his first season immediately achieved what his predecessor Paul Mitchell had not achieved in three years: the principality’s football club is returning to the Champions League after six years. This means that the club management’s most important objective for this season has been achieved. In a chat with the media, the Brazilian director looked back on his first year at AS Monaco.

Scuro was clear about the result achieved (second place behind Paris SG): “I think our season is satisfactory. We had a consistent season with this qualification for the Champions League in a Ligue 1 which is underestimated. You know what it means to finish in the top three of our championship, and how difficult it is to qualify for the Champions League. When I arrived, I said that the experience of past years was going to be the glue for our future. And certain players and staff members who were already present were able to verify it. We wanted to do things differently, and we did. The result is there, but obviously we have a lot of things to improve. We have gone through more difficult times, and we want to understand why, in order to show more continuity and consistency next season. We have shown our ability to react, but we want to control things more, because the expectations will be higher and higher.”

It was remarkable, especially in the second half of the season, that chairman Dmitri Rybolovlev was much closer to the team than in recent years. How big was his role in this success? “The President has been very important and very present for us this season. He sometimes came to attend training sessions, was always close to me, to Adi Hutter and to supporting the players, especially in the locker room. He was always involved in the big decisions made this season and helped us progress, particularly after the elimination in the Coupe de France against Rouen, which was a key point of the season. We had meetings at that time with key players in the squad, as well as the coach, and me. He has always been behind us and has played an important part in the fact that we have achieved this goal of returning to the Champions League.”

Scuro made it clear that Champions League qualification should be considered a starting point. From now on, the beacons will have to be moved again. The director is ambitious: “It was our number one goal to get the club back into the Champions League. Our priority now is to retain our best players, especially with this prestigious competition coming up, where the objective will be to progress through the league phase. Then, I don’t control everyone’s desires, but the goal is really to keep progressing. We will have to strengthen ourselves in terms of staff, however, especially to prepare for our matches, because there will be eight additional opponents next season, whom we will only play once. It’s up to us to prepare for this great challenge. For our part, the current team is already in a good position. Since a team involved in two competitions generally uses between 20 and 21 players, we are sufficiently armed in numbers. Paris Saint-Germain, for example, only used 19 players this season, to compete in three competitions. We therefore plan to have a team with a similar number. I don’t think we need more players because we have the Elite group (young people from the club’s football school, La Diagonale, in Cap d’Ail). But there will naturally be substitutions to be made, all I can say is that at least one player in defense, midfield and attack will change during the first phase of the transfer market. What is certain is that those who join us will add value to the team. We want players with character and that can give the coach the opportunity to modify his way of playing depending on the opponent.

We want to stay strong! We have the ambition to sign new players. Our needs are guided above all by our performances, which we constantly analyse throughout the season. We have been working on the transfer window since February with the recruitment department, myself, Carlos Avina, Adi Hütter and the assistant coaches. We have a pretty clear plan for this summer. Our pre-season will be divided into three parts, with international competitions on the side. Like every start of the season, we begin with a plan, an idea, then the players’ performances quickly speak for themselves, so we then readjust our plan based on that.”

About the rumors about a possible takeover of the club and the sale of Rybolovlev’s shares, Scuro said without going into details: “It’s no secret that there is a sales process that is underway since January, but we do not feel any impact on our work. There is no internal instability because of this. We continue to work on our roadmap. I work and prepare for the future. I can’t control every decision. We hope this ends as quickly as possible. The sooner it is, the better it will be for the club to have a clear vision for the future. For the transfer window, we stick to the plans we have and if things happen, we will adjust. The sooner we know, the sooner we will have a clear vision of the future. I am aligned with the president. He remains connected to Adi Hütter and me. He’s implicated.”