Thierry Henry’s coaching stint at AS Monaco could already be over, with the club deciding to suspend the former France striker from his duties on Thursday while it makes a final decision on his future.
Monaco made the announcement on Thursday (Friday NZT) with the club battling to avoid relegation amid rising tensions between Henry and players in the squad.
In a brief statement, Monaco said the former Arsenal and Barcelona striker has been suspended with immediate effect and that assistant coach Franck Passi will take charge of the team’s training session on Friday.
Henry only took the job – his first as a manager – in October, but the decision follows two embarrassing losses for Monaco, 5-1 at home to Strasbourg last weekend and 3-1 at home to second-division Metz in the French Cup on Tuesday.
Monaco didn’t state a reason for Henry’s suspension, but it came hours after the coach said he had excluded several players from training in a bid to keep only the motivated players.
“There weren’t too many at training yesterday [Wednesday]. We’re in a critical situation, unfortunately that hasn’t changed,” Henry said at a news conference earlier on Thursday.
“At some stage you need lads who want to save the club, who are not just thinking of themselves. We’re sifting through them, we’re going to war.”
Asked who had been excluded from the squad, Henry suggested it was a significant issue when he replied: “You will see the team. There are too many names.”
Monaco sit in 19th place in the French league and have a crucial match away to fellow strugglers Dijon on Saturday, followed by a League Cup semifinal against Guingamp next Tuesday.
Henry’s situation has grown increasingly precarious and the club has been linked with a return for Leonardo Jardim, who was fired in October.
Jardim led Monaco to the French title – beating Paris Saint-Germain by eight points – and the Champions League semifinals in 2017.
Since replacing him, Henry has won only four of 20 matches. He arrived with only very limited experience as an assistant coach working with Belgium’s forwards, and had another lucrative role as a television pundit.
The former France great has been unable to inspire his players and has been openly critical of them, recently saying “honestly, I don’t think the lads realize what is happening” and that every match looked the same because of the number of errors being made.