Monaco v Bastia: Jardim urges focus in semi-final clash
Leonardo Jardim is not taking anything for granted ahead of Monaco's Couple de la Ligue semi-final clash with Bastia at Stade Louis II on Wednesday.
The sides are separated by 12 places in Ligue 1, with Monaco targeting UEFA Champions League qualification while Ghislain Printant's men linger above the relegation zone.
Saturday's 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers Lens will have done little to improve the mood around the Stade Armand Cesari.
Jardim's side, meanwhile, boast an unbeaten run that stretches back 13 games and have not conceded a goal in all competitions since mid-December, having held leaders Lyon to a goalless draw at the weekend.
Monaco have also beaten Bastia in the league this season - a 3-1 win in October - and could welcome back long-term injury absentee Geoffrey Kondogbia following a thigh problem.
Jardim may hand debuts to recent signings Alain Traore and Matheus Carvalho, but warned that form will count for nothing in the cup.
"I think Bastia are better now than when we played in the league," he said.
"The results of Bastia have been very good and they have players of experience and good quality.
"For our part, we will continue to work to improve and progress in all competitions.
"It's important for us to win against Bastia and play the final at the Stade de France. A final is important."
For Printant's men, Wednesday's clash will be the first away fixture of the cup campaign, with Bastia having failed to win on the road in all competitions since October's victory at Nice.
Printant - who took over from Claude Makelele in November on a deal until the end of the season - would do his chances of extending his tenure no harm at all were he to reach the final.
The former Bastia youth team coach insists his side are continuing to improve - his charges having lost just once in their last 10 outings.
"We're on a positive dynamic, even though progress is slow when you collect draws," he said after Saturday's stalemate on the south coast.
"To qualify [for the final] would be extraordinary for the club."