Leonardo Jardim stresses the importance of Monaco’s season-ending clash at Nice

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Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim has stressed the importance of his side’s final game of the season at French Riviera rivals Nice.

The visitors require a point from Friday’s trip to guarantee their Ligue 1 survival.

The Red and Whites began the campaign in the Champions League after finishing last season as runners-up to Paris St Germain, but have been embroiled in a relegation battle this time round.

They are three points and seven goals better off than third-bottom Caen, but there is still an outside chance they could be relegated.

“We have an important game on Friday,” manager Leonardo Jardim told a press conference.

“We need to (draw with) Nice to stay up and keep our destiny in our own hands. Every team is going to take things seriously on this final matchday.”

Monaco’s gamble of handing Thierry Henry his first managerial role in October last year – before sacking him the following January and reappointing Jardim – has led to a season of struggle.

They are almost safe after last week’s 2-0 home victory against fellow strugglers Amiens – their first win in eight matches – and favourable results elsewhere, but Jardim acknowledged the job was not yet done.

“The atmosphere is positive since the victory against Amiens,” he said. “We must use this result to approach the next meeting. We will play with rigour to achieve our goal.”

Nice will be bidding to end an inconsistent season on a high note after their hopes of qualifying for a Europa League place were dashed in last week’s 3-0 defeat at St Etienne.

Patrick Vieira’s side will not make it easy for Monaco, though, having lost only one of their last 13 league games at Allianz Riviera.

Nice require a draw to equal last season’s points total of 54, but former Bayern Munich defender Dante has targeted victory to ensure that haul is surpassed.

“Our goal is to progress each season,” the Brazilian told the club’s official website. “That means getting more points than last year.

“In 2017-18, we finished eighth and now we will try to finish seventh with a maximum of (56) points.”

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