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Aug 9, 2014

Monaco v Lorient

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New Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim will be looking for his side to translate their impressive pre-season form into a successful start to their Ligue 1 campaign on Sunday when Lorient visit the Stade Louis II.

Monaco won five and drew the other of their six friendlies during the summer, including beating the likes of Arsenal and Parma, to leave Jardim in optimistic mood heading into his maiden Ligue 1 campaign.

The former Sporting Lisbon and Olympicos boss, who replaced Claudio Ranieri in June, told a press conference: "The team is confident after the six friendlies. We will do everything to play a good quality of football.

"We've worked hard for six weeks to be ready. We want to start with a good game on Sunday."

Jardim will hope to continue the momentum that saw Monaco win the second division title in 2013 before finishing second to Paris St Germain in the top flight last term.

They must do without forward James Rodriguez, who joined Real Madrid for B£63million this summer following his impressive World Cup exploits with Colombia, but have so far managed to keep hold of his sought-after countryman Radamel Falcao.

Falcao, who scored the only goal in last season's corresponding fixture against Lorient, has only recently returned to competitive action following a serious knee injury and is not yet fully fit, but Jardim says the prolific striker could still be involved this weekend.

He said: "Falcao is not 100 per cent yet but is ready to be included in the group."

Lorient, who finished eighth last season, have only beaten Monaco once in their last 10 meetings but midfielder Mathieu Coutadeur hopes that facing the big-spending Monegasque on the opening day of the campaign could benefit his side.

He said on his club's official website: "Some people think it's better to take them on right away because they will not be completely settled. I agree with that.

"We're not in perfect form. We're maybe not 100 per cent ready physically or at a tactical level, but mentally, we are ready. We will need to be at 150 per cent to play this Monaco team."

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