• Club say final decision to be taken on Henry’s future• Monaco have won only two league games under himThierry Henry has been suspended by Monaco three months after his appointment as manager. They have won only two league games under the former Arsenal
Thierry Henry has been suspended by Monaco three months after his appointment as manager. They have won only two league games under the former Arsenal striker and are 19th in Ligue 1. The club said a final decision was pending and that Franck Passi, who arrived last month to provide experienced assistance for Henry, will oversee Friday’s training session.
It has been a troubled spell for Henry, who walked into a relegation battle when he replaced Leonardo Jardim on 13 October. At that point Monaco were 18th but their fortunes have not improved during a 104-day, 20-match stint and his frustrations rose to the surface in the buildup to Saturday’s game against Dijon, who are one place above them.
Henry said his team were “going to war” in their effort to arrest a five-game winless run in the league and suggested an attitude problem within the squad. “We need guys who want to save the club, who don’t think about themselves,” he said. Asked who would be left out at Dijon, he replied: “You will see. There are too many names.”
Monaco had shown signs of life after Christmas, a penalty shootout win over Rennes in the League Cup preceding draws at Marseille and at home to Patrick Vieira’s Nice on 16 January. After the latter, Henry observed that Monaco, who have been undermined by big-name departures and a lengthy injury list, were beginning to play the way he wanted. Henry’s former Arsenal teammate, Cesc Fàbregas, was tempted to join from Chelsea and the outlook appeared brighter.
But they took another step backwards with a 5-1 home defeat to Strasbourg last Saturday, playing 83 minutes with 10 men, and were defeated 3-1 at Stade Louis II by Ligue 2 side Metz in the French Cup on Tuesday. That appears to have pressed Monaco into action, with reports suggesting Jardim could make an unlikely return should Henry’s exit be confirmed.
Tell us what you think about this story.
Thierry Henry suspended by Monaco as manager after 104 days in charge
Borussia Dortmund stretched their lead in the Bundesliga over Bayern Munich to nine points after hammering Hannover 96 5-1.
Captain Marco Reus, who was making his return after an ankle injury, scored one and set up another as his team turned up the pressure on Bayern, who host Stuttgart on Sunday.
Defender Achraf Hakimi opened the scoring in the 24th minute after playing a one-two with Raphaël Guerreiro, before the home side killed the game with three goals in quick succession on the hour mark. First, Hakimi capitalised on a Hannover mistake to set up Reus, then Jadon Sancho provided Mario Goetze with a simple finish. Four minutes later, Reus set Guerreiro up for a fourth.
Marvin Bakalorz pulled a late goal back for the visitors, but Axel Witsel fired in off the post in injury time to complete the rout.
BorussiaMönchengladbach defeated Augsburg 2-0 to move ahead of third-placed Bayern on goal difference and Bayer Leverkusen won at Wolfsburg 3-0 to give new coach Peter Bosz his first win. Hoffenheim won at Freiburg 4-2, Mainz defeated Nuremberg 2-1 in a heated encounter and Werder Bremen were held to a 2-2 draw by Eintracht Frankfurt.
Atlético Madrid moved to within two points of La Liga leaders Barcelona, easing to a 2-0 home win over Getafe in an ill-tempered game which saw the visitors end the game with nine men.
Antoine Griezmann struck from just outside the area in the 27th minute and midfielder Saúl Ñíguez pounced on a rebound to double the lead 10 minutes later. Getafe’s Djene Dakonam was sent off in the 88th minute after collecting two yellow cards, and Leandro Cabrera followed him in added time.
Sevilla beat Levante 5-0 to move back up to third in the table, and Leganés came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw with Eibar.
Veteran forward Fabio Quagliarella scored for a record-equalling 11th Serie A match in a row to lead Sampdoria to a 4-0 win over Udinese. The 35-year-old took his tally for the season to 16 as he matched Gabriel Batistuta’s feat, which the Argentine achieved for Fiorentina in 1994, by converting two penalties. Karol Linetty added a third, before Manolo Gabbiadini scored his first goal since his move from Southampton.
Sassuolo ended a run of seven home matches without a win by thumping Cagliari 3-0. Manuel Locatelli gave them an early lead, Khouma Babacar converted a penalty in first-half stoppage time and Alessandro Matri tapped in the third three minutes from time.
Napoli, meanwhile, failed to close the gap on leaders Juventus after drawing 0-0 at Milan. They were unable to break the hosts down and lost Fabian Ruiz to a controversial red card in injury time, after the referee gave him a second yellow card for a deliberate handball.
Monaco’s troubles continued as they lost 2-0 at Ligue 1 relegation rivals Dijon in their first match since Thierry Henry’s departure and the return of Leonardo Jardim. They fell behind in the 24th minute when Kwon Chang-hoon slotted home, and were subsequently reduced to 10 men when Naldo was sent off for a second successive league game. Naim Sliti scored Dijon’s second less than 10 minutes later to confirm victory.
Guingamp suffered a 1-0 home loss to Reims and Nice beat Nîmes 2-0, while Strasbourg secured a 1-0 home win against Bordeaux. The visitors wore jerseys with the name ‘Emi’ and the number nine on for the pre-match warm-up in tribute to their former player Emiliano Sala, after a plane carrying the striker went missing.
Appointing Thierry Henry as manager was always going to be a gamble for Monaco, but there was little to suggest his time in charge would end in such spectacular failure. Henry’s return to his boyhood club was an unmitigated disaster. Henry did oversee the odd decent result – including recent draws with Marseille and Nice in the league and progress to the semi-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue – but ultimately he paid the price for performances on the pitch and his own seeming contradictions.
The sheer number of injuries at the club did not work in his favour. More than a dozen first-team players were unavailable at various times, most notably Rony Lopes, who scored an incredible 14 goals in the second half of last season. However, even with the board’s backing – Monaco signed Naldo, Cesc Fàbregas and Fodé Ballo-Touré this month – the playing staff was not the main issue. Rather, Henry was held back by his own inconsistencies and immature attitude.
Henry is 41 and just four years into his retirement – he played alongside Fàbregas for several years at Arsenal – and it appears his lack of maturity has been his undoing. It is hard to square Henry’s seemingly imperious attitude (witness his admonishment of Benoît Badiashile after the young defender failed to push in his chair at a press conference) and reports that the manager conducted himself more like a senior member of the squad than their manager.
Last Sunday, during Monaco’s 5-1 defeat to Strasbourg, Henry was even caught on camera telling the opposition right-back that his “grandmother’s a whore,” which seems quite at odds with the culture of respect he seemed to be demanding while chastising his own player.
Monaco followed up their loss in Strasbourg with another disappointing result on Tuesday night, a 3-1 home defeat to second-tier Metz in the Coupe de France. In response to being knocked out of the cup, Henry wanted to demote several players to the reserves, not an easy decision to make given his side’s injury woes, but one he was set on taking nonetheless, citing the need for “hungry” players.
A group of senior players reacted by requesting a summit meeting with the board. The club took the players’ dissatisfaction seriously and were quick to dismiss Henry, even though his hefty severance package of between €10 and €15m is a departure from their previously parsimonious ways.
It is not only Henry’s haughty attitude towards the players on a personal level that has damned him. Reports from the club’s training centre also highlighted a seeming lack of professionalism on his part while taking training, something that seemed to spill over into matchdays as well, as Monaco frequently chopped and changed their tactics and the roles of various players.
Some of Henry’s more surprising decisions – for instance, playing Almamy Touré as a centre-back for the first time in years and Aleksandr Golovin as a striker – can be put down to the lack of depth in his squad, but the team desperately lacked identity under his management. Henry had a vivacious style as a player – and Monaco had played with a similar devil-may-care attitude during their best spell under Jardim – but Henry undermined that approach by playing negative formations with too many central midfielders.
If taking a more cautious route was truly his aim, his tactics often served to weaken his players; Kamil Glik’s lack of pace was often easily exposed in a back three and Nacer Chadli’s form did little to capture the imagination. It was as if Henry did not know his players’ attributes very well. Even with the former Marseille boss Franck Passi coming in as Henry’s assistant, Monaco too often looked at sea on the pitch. The same players also struggled under Jardim, but the sheer inconsistency of Henry’s approach to management, both on a personal and professional level, did much to discredit his ambitions.
In the end, Henry was his own worst enemy. Hopefully he will leave Monaco having learned a lesson about attitude and preparedness. Before he returns to the game, he should go away and reflect on what has gone wrong and how he can move on from this disappointment.
Ligue 1 talking points
• The Vélodrome may have found its saviour. Mario Balotelli scored a consolation goal for Marseille in their 2-1 defeat to Lille on Friday in a game that was held up for half an hour after a fan threw a firework on to the pitch in the second half. Despite previous missteps, Balotelli has been a success in France. His total of 33 goals in 51 Ligue 1 games in his first two seasons remains impressive and Marseille are desperate for a physical, skilful frontman. His individual quality suits a team that is reliant on its stars to win games and his brash self-confidence suits the Vélodrome and its raucous public. Nevertheless, there are caveats. This season has not been a fruitful one for the Italian, with no goals in 10 games for Nice. Whether anyone but Lucien Favre can cajole performances from the forward remains uncertain. However, now that Balotelli has been given a move that he wanted, the Vélodrome will hope to see the Nice incarnation of Super Mario. It may be Rudi Garcia’s last hope.
•Nice were the definition of well run club under president Jean-Pierre Rivère and general manager Julien Fournier. A balanced squad, a meticulous scouting team and Rivère’s precise reinvestment of income brought the club a title challenge and European football. However, the visionary duo announced their exit earlier this month. Back in 2016 the club received investment from a group of American-Chinese businessmen led by Barnsley owner Chien Lee. Their aim was to replicate Monaco’s model of nurturing young talents before selling them on at a profit. However, this ambition has conflicted with how Rivère and Fournier wanted to run things. Targets have slipped away because of slow decision-making and Founier’s authority over signings has been diluted. Deals for players who would add maturity to the squad – such as Younès Belhanda, Ryad Boudebouz and Valère Germain – have reportedly been vetoed by Lee and his investors. Patrick Vieira, who was appointed by Rivère and Fournier, has kept a weakened squad afloat but his future is also in question. The manager has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave at the same time as the president. With Rivère going at the end of the month, this could be a disastrous time for the club.