By Frank Pingue
MONTREAL (Reuters) – Thierry Henry needs no reminder about his brief stint in charge of AS Monaco but the former France striker said on Monday he hopes the experience will benefit him in his new role as coach of Montreal Impact.
Henry failed to spark a change in fortunes at struggling Monaco and was sacked in January after just 103 days but is not about to let his first head coaching role define him as he gets set to take charge of a Major League Soccer club.
“You guys always remember the good stuff, but I became a better player in the darkness,” Henry, who won a World Cup in 1998, said at his introductory news conference in Montreal.
“Hopefully that’s going to help me to become a good coach.”
During Henry’s stint as coach of French Ligue 1 side Monaco, where he also played five seasons and won the league title in 1997, the squad lost 11 of their 20 matches.
But despite Henry’s turbulent introduction to being a head coach, the 42-year-old Frenchman said it would be a mistake to just give up and not try to show what he has learned.
“It didn’t work out in Monaco. I can give you a lot of excuses but at the end of the day it didn’t work out and I am here as a coach of Montreal,” said Henry.
“I learned a lot there. The only mistake you can make is not learning from what happened. You have to confront it.”
Prior to Monaco, Henry had worked as assistant coach to the Belgian national team but had never been in charge of a team in his own right.
Henry, who scored 51 goals in 123 appearances for France and played at four World Cups, is eager for the chance to show the world he has what it takes to be a successful coach.
“It’s about fighting all the time, this isn’t only my story it’s the story of everybody in life. You are going to fall but it’s how to get up,” said Henry.
Henry will be at the helm of his new team as of mid-January when training camp begins and takes over a Montreal squad that went 12-17-5 this year and missed the MLS Cup Playoffs for a third consecutive season.
Henry said he long ago fell in love with French-speaking Montreal, a diverse city where he hopes to have a long adventure with the Impact.
“If you take the best part of Europe and the best part of North America you will arrive in Montreal,” said Henry.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)