Monaco still have Champions League hopes, says Vadim Vasilyev

Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev admits that in the short term it will be difficult to rival Paris Saint-Germain and fulfill the owner's dream of winning the Champions League, although he stressed that the club continue to have high hopes.

Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev took over the club in 2011 and invested heavily on their return to Ligue 1 in 2013 by bringing in players like Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho.

Monaco finished second in their first year back in the top flight but commercial revenues and attendances did not increase as expected.

Vasilyev admits that the new ownership "underestimated" the context surrounding the principality club, which has traditionally never drawn big crowds.

"We thought we'd have more substantial money coming in and more quickly than it did," he told France Football.

"We understood that we couldn't continue to spend heavily if we wanted to make something viable."

Despite losing Falcao to Manchester United and Rodriguez to Real Madrid, Leonardo Jardim's side still managed to finish third in Ligue 1 last season and reached the Champions League quarterfinals.

But this summer saw yet more upheaval and the sales of Anthony Martial, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, Aymen Abdennour and Layvin Kurzawa raised well over €150 million. Despite the perception that Monaco have become a selling club, Vasilyev, 50, vowed that they would do their best to compete with PSG and on a European stage.

"We're still ambitious," he said. "Everyone has spoken a lot about our sales but very few highlight that we spent €75 million on new players. Who in France, apart from PSG who spent more than €60 million on one player, [Angel] Di Maria, has spent as much?

"That said, we have to adapt this ambition to the reality. We haven't given up on challenging PSG but to win the title, it's difficult to forecast that for the time being because PSG are so strong that it would take a lot of things to happen to hope of getting ahead of them.

"The goal is to do at least as well as last year, to finish in the top three and why not win one of the national cup competitions.

"The Europa League is also an interesting competition -- we're going to try to go as far as possible in it.

"We want to keep ourselves on a high European level. Incidentally, the president's dream is to win the Champions League one day. But that's a long way away.

Monaco have made a slow start to the season, losing to Valencia in the Champions League playoff round and sitting ninth in the Ligue 1 table. But Vasilyev is confident that their young squad will eventually prove its worth.

The club face Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday in Group J Europa League action.

"We've lost important players but look at what the situation was like at the start of last year's league: Martial, Carrasco, Abdennour and Kondogbia weren't guaranteed starters," he told France Football.

"We gave them time to develop. That's what we want to do this season with our young recruits."