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How Thierry Henry lost the AS Monaco dressing room

AS Monaco earlier this evening announced that manager Thierry Henry was suspended from all duties until further notice, with assistant coach Franck Passi taking charge of tomorrow’s training session.

This followed a press conference given by Henry this afternoon in which he announced his decision to cull a large number of 1st team players from his set-up in an effort to rid “of individuals who only care about their own futures”.

Henry’s future was already in serious doubt following the 1-5 home less to Strasbourg last Saturday, and the Monaco board had already begun to make plans to nominate Franck Passi into an interim head coach role.

But several reputable Monaco sources had claimed that Henry had another 2 games (against Dijon in Ligue 1 and against Guingamp in the Coupe de la Ligue) to save his job. Despite this, Henry has gone this evening. His suspension as manager of Monaco this evening is merely procedural as reported by the BBC and he has been sacked.

Henry’s win rate was below 25% – he managed Monaco through just 20 games, a run that included 11 defeats, 5 draws and 4 victories.

Sources contacted by Goal France understand that a host of players had begun to consistently complain to the Monaco board about the manner in which Thierry Henry treated them, either from the touchline or in day-to-day activities.

An anonymous AS Monaco squad member, on the pitch on the day which the memory he recalls below occurred: “A few matches ago, he screamed: “He, he is supposed to be worth €10m?” All of the substitutes heard. The message he sent to the players was very negative.”

Another anonymous source close to the Monaco 1st team group added: “He would speak badly to the players, it is a fact. He would also make examples of people and that annoyed a lot of people, he gave this haughty impression as if he would not consider anyone else’s opinion.”

This is no surprise – one merely had to watch Henry in 2019 on the touchline to see just how negative his body language and approach was – taking every missed pass, poor control or questionable refereeing decision hyper-personally and seemingly criticising the relevant people loudly, publicly and aggressively.

What confused many Monaco squad members was this radical change of approach, with Henry having largely started off as calm in front of the press, serene on the touchline, but cracks began to appear as losses built up.

Under considerable pressure, the size of which he could not have imagined when he took the job in the middle of October, Henry no longer responded to staff members and players in the same way and his decision-making became questionable.

Before the Coupe de la Ligue quarter-final encounter with Rennes on 9th January, Thierry Henry decided to give the captain’s armband to Youri Tielemans, stepping in for the absent Falcao.

Although nothing was formally announced to the group, the special relationship shared between Henry and Tielemans, which stretches back to their time together with the Belgian national team, and their lengthy one-on-one conversations during training sessions, suggested that the midfielder was being given the vice-captaincy for the long-term, thus ousting dressing room stalwart and Polish defender Kamil Glik from this position of responsibility in the process.

In doing so, Henry sent a terrible message to the dressing room, passing up an old-head who has stuck by the club in a period of radical transition in favour of a player who has been largely awful throughout the entirety of this campaign so far. Whether or not Henry meant it, it came across as if the former Arsenal man was playing favourites.

His time with Monaco is over, his reign disastrous.

 

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