Lyon, France, 1st February 2022. An Ulhsport Official Ligue 1 Uber Eats matchball prior to kick off in the Uber Eats Ligue 1 match at the Groupama Stadium, Lyon. Picture credit should read: Jonathan Moscrop / Sportimage PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK SPI-1496-0104

Roberto Moreno is into the deep end in his first role at the club level, together with Monaco facing back-to-back league matches against dominant Paris Saint-Germain. Before confronting the defending champions in a rearranged fixture on the 15th of January, Monaco travels to Paris on Sunday 12th January. After recovering from a challenging start, Monaco, owned by billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, are in seventh place. Moreno will be tasked with trying to shut the gap on third position — that gives a berth in the Champions League qualifying rounds — although the 10-point gap to Marseille in 2nd spot and thus to automatic qualification remains a long shot. Moreno, who had a spell in charge of Spain throughout the qualifiers for the next year’s European Championship, is not worried at the level.”I don’t think that it will change much for me,” that the 42-year-old Spaniard said. “Over the last nine years I had been an assistant, I took part in all of the decision-making in a team playing at the top level, the only difference being that the visible face was somebody else.” In any case, Monaco’s insistence made him feel valued. “I obtained a lot of interest after I left the national team. The job introduced to me by Monaco was the best, offered me the most guarantees,” he explained. “I felt like I had been their first option, that is what motivated me.” He is getting a crash-course introduction into the French league against a PSG team that is free-scoring. The defending champions are seven points clear of Marseille. Coach Thomas Tuchel is starting games with four forwards: Angel Di Maria, Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Mauro Icardi. This is a much more frightening prospect considering the shaky defence of Monaco is among the weakest, with 26 goals conceded in 18 games. Poor defending was an issue last season, also. Center half Kamil Glik’s lack of pace has been an issue, and Jemerson remains inconsistent. Moreno may look to bolster his defence. His immediate task in midfield will be galvanizing former Spain and Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas. His form has been average, although Fabregas was an important signing when he joined last January. Monaco look powerful in attack with Wissam Ben Yedder topping the charts scoring 13 goals and Islam Slimani leading the league with eight assists along with Di Maria. They’ve been well supported by attacking midfielder Aleksandr Golovin — one of Russia’s best players in the 2018 World Cup — who has three goals and three assists. The only other midfielder to have found the back of the net is Gelson Martins, with three strikes, so that’s an area where Moreno may fortify.