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Arsene Wenger has come to the defence of former Arsenal charge Thierry Henry and backed the sacked AS Monaco boss to become a success as a manager despite surviving for only three months at the Stade Louis II.
Henry was fired at Monaco—his first senior coaching position—in January, but Wenger sympathised with Henry’s plight when speaking at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards (h/t Goal’s Stephen Creek):
“If you arrive in October and the team is in a bad position, you have three months. Because in January everybody starts to become nervous that things could go very badly, so you have less time.
“That’s what’s happened to Thierry but how he bounces back will be very important. I believe he has the quality and he has the desire to make a career and the career is judged on a longer period.”
Monaco lost 11 of their 20 matches with Henry in charge, winning five times in all competitions (only two came in Ligue 1).
Goal broke down his Monaco stats in greater detail:
Here are the numbers behind Henry’s miserable time in charge of Monaco… https://t.co/jKuFVs0JPi
Wenger contrasted his career beginnings against those of Henry, 41, who assumed his first senior role almost 10 years older than his former mentor was when he started out:
“I started my job at 33, I had a lot of promising people around me, many disappeared and some survived. You need luck and we need to work hard but it’s always very difficult to predict a career of a manager.
“We depend a lot on the quality of the players, the quality of the club and the quality of the confidence we get.”
Those comments might suggest Henry and Monaco—despite starting his professional playing and then managerial career at the club—just weren’t the right fit.
That being said, France Football (h/t Get French Football News) highlighted ways in which the ex-France striker may have rocked the boat too much at the French Riviera:
Get French Football News @GFFN
As soon as Thierry Henry took the Monaco job, he put pressure on key dressing room figures (Falcao, Glik, Jemerson, Raggi) by threatening constantly to replace them with youth products, according to France Football.
Monaco have since reappointed Henry’s predecessor, Leonardo Jardim, as manager and are out of Ligue 1’s relegation zone after going unbeaten in their last three (two wins, one draw).
Franck Passi initially took over the team in an interim capacity following Henry’s dismissal, and Goal’s Ronan Murphy noted it wasn’t a smooth transition at first:
Robin Bairner @RBairner
Even without Thierry Henry, Monaco still a disaster. Lose 2-0 in a relegation crunch match against Dijon, who had previously won one match since August.
Wenger worked with Henry in two different stints at Arsenal (once on loan), not to mention the latter trained at the Emirates Stadium and gained experience coaching in their youth setup too.
Henry will hope for a lower-pressure setting when taking his next coaching position in the hopes that he can prove Wenger right and begin building his credentials as a tactician.