Paul Mitchell

AS Monaco sporting director Paul Mitchell addressed the media after his side’s 4-2 loss against ESTAC Troyes. It was a game in which the game turned on big refereeing decisions. Monaco looked to be cruising before Guillermo Maripán was adjudged to have fouled in the box, before being sent off for a stray arm just before half-time.

Monaco also felt aggrieved to have not earned a penalty of their own when Breel Embolo was taken down in the box, and earlier in the game, Embolo was taken down when through on goal. No foul was given.

Read Mitchell’s press conference in full below:

What did you make of tonight’s match, and of the refereeing performance?

I’m upset with many things this evening to be totally honest. One of the outstanding thoughts is definitely some of the refereeing decisions. It is becoming too consistent. It feels like it’s always us on the wrong side of every decision. Once again, two red cards in the last four games. Both very debatable, big penalty decision and all we’re asking for is consistency. If the consistent decision is that you send someone off because they raise their arm and there’s a slight contact and then Neymar goes with an elbow into our player in Paris at the weekend, then there is no consistency. That’s all we’re asking for: fairness and consistency. We’ve reached out to the Football Association by written letter this week, we reached out via the press conference to say that we’re open to discussing. Some of us are ex-players, and some of us have been in the game for a long time. I’m sure we can bring value and it feels like it isn’t wanted. Then when you get decisions like we had against us this evening, then, of course, we’re disappointed and we’re angry and we’re upset.

What can you do?

Just ask for more consistency. The referees need to give themselves time to make game-changing decisions. This is what we ask, and this is what I said in the press conferences. You’re coming to a critical decision, a contact, a penalty, so give yourself time. Why do we need to make such emotional decisions as referees? It’s not demanded by the association in any league in the world, so they need to give themselves time to make better decisions because as I’ve said numerous times, I want 11v11. I’m not going to hide away from the fact that we weren’t good enough tonight in the first half. We could have played with more tempo, we have more quality. Everybody knows what a good team we have; we showed that in Paris and we should have shown that again tonight in the first half. But, there is a game-changing moment and that’s the sending-off. And once again, the consistency. Breel Embolo is being manhandled in the box in the second half. That has to be a penalty then. If Maripán’s is a penalty, then Embolo’s is a penalty. I just want consistency, parity and fairness.

Is the inconsistency of Monaco frustrating, especially after the draw against PSG on Sunday?

I don’t really like to come out and speak so much. I never come out after games, but I think this is the right moment to speak about, especially some of the officiating this evening, and already at the start of the season. But it’s early in the season and I hope it can change. We’re not happy about those inconsistencies. We have a very good team, a very good squad, very good players, and a very good coach and we should be more consistent than what we’re currently showing.

Are you going to make any further moves in the transfer Window?

I think we have full support. We’re behind the team, we’re behind the coach. I think we’ve shown already in the performances how good this team can be, but we have to turn the names and the quality on paper into consistent performances and that is going to be our challenge in the coming weeks.

Are you upset with only having 5 points?

Yeah, I wouldn’t say I’m upset, I’d say I’m pretty angry to be totally honest. The officiating, as we’ve talked about, isn’t good enough for this level of football, it isn’t good enough for the product that French football needs to be and needs to become in order to keep us at the top of European football. These things make a difference. In terms of our points total, as I say, we’re not happy, we want to win every game and we’re angry when we don’t. We are angry, that goes without saying for me, but it’s a long season and we’ve shown we have quality, we’ve shown we have good players, we’ve shown we have big potential players. That’s why they get the media coverage they get, and why there are so many rumours around them. We have to play for the long season as always. We need to ensure we start finding more consistency in the coming days.

Has too low a bar for red cards and penalties been set?

It depends which side of the fence you’re on. The bar seems quite low for decisions against us, but high when we’re looking for similar types of decisions. It’s the inconsistency of it all. That’s the most frustrating thing. I don’t mind the decisions, because I know that refereeing is a tough job. I’ve played football and been in the game a long, long time so I understand how hard it is. But I think we have got to demand consistency for the league, for Monaco and for all of the team because we saw 11 red cards last week. That was superficially the highest in the big five leagues. If that isn’t evidence that something needs to be reviewed, that processes need to be assessed, that responsibility needs to be taken, then I don’t know what is, because it does ruin the game. It ruins it for the spectators, it ruins it for the athletes, the coaches and for both teams. Good teams want to play 11v11. We’ve said that, I said that last time and I’ll say it again. So I’m frustrated and angry about our performance and frustrated and angry about this lack of consistency we’re getting from these referees in big games and in big moments because that definitely had an effect.


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