Champions League Jardim, Moutinho expecting different Monaco vs Spurs

Leonardo Jardim and Joao Moutinho expect a tighter affair when Monaco visit Tottenham in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

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Leonardo Jardim and Joao Moutinho expect a tighter affair when Monaco visit Tottenham in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

The two clubs were paired together in last season's Europa League group stages, when Monaco held their own in the first encounter - a 1-1 draw at Stade Louis II.

But it was a different story at White Hart Lane, Erik Lamela's hat-trick setting Spurs on their way to a resounding 4-1 success.

With the sides set to meet again in their Group E opener at Wembley, coach Jardim is anticipating an improved performance from his players.

"This year, the team is stronger," he said in Tuesday's media conference. "It will be a more balanced, more tight game.

"Tottenham are slight favourites but we will do everything to implement our game. The team is well at the moment. We will be competitive."

"Compared to last year, the game will be completely different," echoed Portugal international midfielder Moutinho.

"It's another competition, another season. Our team has evolved also. We will have to give the maximum to get the result we want.

"All players like these big atmospheres, we love this pressure. This group is one of the most balanced - all teams have their chances. It will be a very open game between two teams who want to win."

Striker Radamel Falcao made his first Ligue 1 outing of the season against Lille on Saturday, a 25-minute cameo as a substitute, and Jardim suggested the Colombia international could be in line for a start at Wembley, while a late decision will be taken on the fitness of goalkeeper Danijel Subasic (thigh).

"I am confident that Falcao will return to his best level," Jardim said. "He can be ready. Of course, we will see if he can play the whole game. We have other solutions."

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