Jardim: Monaco can progress in Champions League

Drawn against Benfica, Zenit and Leverkusen, the principality side are not counting themselves out of the running to progress to the last 16
Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim has faith that his team can progress in the Champions League despite being handed competitive fixtures.

The principality club have struggled for form in the early weeks of Ligue 1, winning only one of their opening three fixtures and are still beset with rumours that Radamel Falcao could leave before the transfer deadline.

Jardim, however, feels that progressing from a group consisting of Benfica, Zenit St Petersburg and Bayer Leverkusen is a fair goal despite there not being an outright weak team.

"It’s a very equal group, a very strong group, with four great clubs who will do everything to qualify," he explained to reporters.

"With concentration and a good deal of work we can qualify for the last 16."

Veteran defender Ricardo Carvalho predicts that life will be tough for Monaco, who are returning to the top level of the European game after nearly a decade away.

"It’s the Champions League, it’s hard for everyone," he said. "It’s very important to start well and to go match by match.

"Zenit have great players, Benfica are a top team and Leverkusen are a strong side. We must believe in ourselves."

Monaco’s best moment in Europe was a run to the Champions League final 10 years ago, in which they were overcome by Jose Mourinho’s Porto, and it is that level of success that Jardim's side are trying to replicate.