French great Henry set for coaching debut with Monaco

Monaco coach Thierry Henry puts his players through their paces at the club’s training facilities in La Turbie. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2018
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French great Henry set for coaching debut with Monaco

  • The French great, who started his glittering playing career at Monaco, takes over a side sitting 18th in the top flight
  • The 41-year-old Henry helped France win the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship

PARIS: Thierry Henry’s managerial career could hardly be starting under more challenging circumstances, with struggling Monaco leaking goals, hit by injuries and low on confidence.
The French great, who started his glittering playing career at Monaco, takes over a side sitting 18th in the top flight.
Monaco has won just once in 11 games — including two defeats in the Champions League — and the poor run cost Leonardo Jardim his job .
“The reality is morale isn’t at its highest,” Henry said ahead of the trip to Strasbourg on Saturday.
Strasbourg is ninth and the Alsace-based side is hard to beat at home.
Henry will be without No. 1 goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and No. 2 Diego Benaglio — who are nursing thigh injuries and sat out Thursday’s training session.
Monaco also has two defenders suspended — Jemerson and Andrea Raggi — and another out injured, while Henry must decide whether to select veteran striker Radamel Falcao, who is returning late after playing for Colombia on Wednesday night.
Jardim often rested Falcao after internationals, but Henry may have no choice but to pick his leading scorer.
Monaco won the domestic title and reached the Champions League semifinals in 2017, scoring more than 150 goals. However, the side Henry has inherited is a far cry from that swashbuckling team.
The 41-year-old Henry helped France win the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship. He is the leading goal-scorer for his country and for Premier League Arsenal, and thrilled fans with his speed and skill.
He exudes confidence but, given Monaco’s precarious situation, he has little time to talk about his vision for the club.
“I prefer to think only of the present. What the team needs right now might not be what the team needs in two or three months. When things are calmer perhaps we can talk about those things,” Henry said.
“It’s not going to be easy to get the team to understand how I want to play. It’s always better to have the team at the start of the season, so they know the ideas.”
Henry was previously Belgium’s No. 2. During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he was praised by coach Roberto Martinez for his work helping fine-tune the squad’s forwards.
His focus now is to shore up a Monaco defense which has leaked 13 goals in nine league games.
“We must become a team which doesn’t let in goals,” Henry said. “What the team needs now is security and balance.”
Because it’s his first job in charge, Henry will be relying on his backroom staff more than other coaches might.
“It’s important to have staff members who can say ‘no’ to you, challenge you on certain points, and perhaps have a different vision of things,” he said. “The most important thing is not having people around me who just say ‘yes, yes.’“
Monaco has a huge scouting network and a reputation for developing players before selling them on for massive profits. The best example is 19-year-old France forward Kylian Mbappe, who shone in 2017 before joining Paris Saint-Germain in a deal worth €180 million ($207 million).
Henry knows how it feels to be a young star. He made his Monaco debut at the age of 17 in 1994 and four years later he was a World Cup winner — just like Mbappe is now .
“We live in a (different) generation,” Henry said. “When I grew up, you needed to make the first step to the senior players, the first step to the coach. Now, you have to go to the new generation, understand their codes. The way they (arrive) sometimes to training, the way they walk, the little lean they have ... my coach would have sent me straight back to the dressing room (for that).
“Sometimes you have to laugh, sometimes you have to be hard and sometimes you have to let them be. The trick is when. If you stay stuck on the way you grew up, then there will be a fracture, that’s for sure. You have to adapt and be patient.”


Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

Updated 15 November 2018
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Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

  • 2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari
  • If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events

LONDON: Francesco Molinari is looking to end a fairytale season by becoming the European No. 1 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which starts today, and the first Italian to achieve the feat.
2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari, with a maiden Major victory in the Open Championship in July, which followed a first Rolex event victory at the BMW PGA Championship in May. He has also not missed a single cut this season, a run that extends over four years in regular European Tour events.
And in a glorious Ryder Cup for the Europeans, he became the first player from the continent to win five points out of five, while securing the winning point in his singles match against USA’s Phil Mickelson.
Speaking to journalists ahead of today’s tee-off, the Italian said: “It feels incredible, a new position for me, I’ve never been here in the past.
“I think it’s just a consequence and a sign of an incredible season. I would have never guessed that I would be here in this position if you told me in April or May this year but it’s been an incredible summer, topped by an unbelievable Ryder Cup.
“Really, it’s a dream season for me and it’s nice to be here in this position. Hopefully I’ll be able to close it out. I know it’s not going to be easy and I’m not making any assumptions but I’ll do my best on the course to do the job.
And when asked about his prospects of winning the Harry Vardon trophy this weekend, he said: “You can have the best week of your life and win one tournament but to win a competition that lasts throughout the season, with the amount of talent there is right now on the European Tour, is something really hard to do but it’s also still hard to figure out for me how I’m here in this position.”
Molinari needs to finish tied-fifth or better at the Jumeirah Golf Estates to seal the Race to Dubai crown, but Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood — the man he formed such a strong bond with in Paris — is the only man who can prevent him the perfect ending.
Victory for the Englishman on the Earth Course is the only way he can deny Molinari the title, but the Italian was full of praise for his “best friend” and would not begrudge Fleetwood if he successfully defended his Race to Dubai crown.
“I know we said this and we’re going to sound really cheesy but if I don’t win, I’d rather see him win than anyone else,” he said.
“We really are good friends and he’s had an amazing season. To think that he won last year and to come here, still with a chance to win two in a row, it’s incredible, really.
“So fair play to him. What I can say for me is that it’s been a great season and however it goes this week, I’m still going to have lots of great memories from all of what I’ve done this year, and probably the best memory is what we’ve done together with him in France.
“I can’t really be mad at him, even if he wins.”
If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events and he praised the introduction of the European Tour’s prestige level of tournaments.
“There’s a few events that we target every year,” he said. “It’s great for us to have the opportunity to play in such special tournaments.
“Especially for guys like me, playing a home event in Italy that is part of the Rolex Series, just gives a completely new meaning to the Italian Open.”