Pep Guardiola will provide the ‘reference’ for Thierry Henry as he begins his managerial career at Monaco.
The Manchester City manager worked with Henry at Barcelona and the Frenchman recognises Guardiola sets the standard he needs to aspire to.
Speaking at his first press conference since being appointed by the struggling Ligue 1 club, Henry said: ‘Pep for me is the reference. We learnt how to play the game when I went to Barcelona under him.
HENRY’S START AS MONACO MANAGER
Strasbourg (H) – October 20
Club Brugge (A) – October 24 (Champions League)
Dijon (A) – October 27
Reims (A) – November 3
Club Brugge (H) – November 6 (Champions League)
Paris Saint-Germain (H) – November 11 (Champions League)
Ligue 1 unless otherwise stated
‘The invention he had in the game; he’s well ahead of the game, I saw it closely.
‘You learn from people; they inspire you. But you also need to put your own little mix in it.
‘Talking about the managers that I had; I learnt with a lot of them, every single one of them. Whether they challenged me, whether sometimes they were doing the wrong stuff; that’s when you learn the most – when things are not going well.
‘But if I talked about Arsene [Wenger], Arsene unlocked a lot of stuff in my mind, made me understand what it was to be a professional, what it was to perform. I will never forget that. You know the relationship I had with him so I will always carry some of the stuff that he was doing.
‘A lot of people (also) inspired me in France.’
Henry won seven trophies at the Nou Camp under Guardiola during a period in which many believe Barcelona played the best football on the planet.
Now in the managerial hot-seat, Henry believes he has the responsibility to improve his players in the hope of creating the same dazzling style of football which propelled Monaco to the title in 2017.
‘For me, a coach is supposed to make people better,’ Henry added.
‘First, the player. Second, the player. Third, the player. That’s the most important thing, enjoy the game. Improving players for me is a success.’
Wednesday’s unveiling marked a momentous occasion. Henry began his playing career in the principality and won Ligue 1 with the club back in 1997.
He went on to become a great at Arsenal and although he highlighted his close connection with the north London club, he said Monaco always had an emotional pull.
‘When the offer came it was quite logical; my heart talked,’ he explained. ‘You know the connection I have with one club in London, but this is where I started. This club will always have a big place in my heart.
‘So to be able to come here and start here again is a dream come true, I won’t lie. There’s a lot of work to do, as you can imagine, but I’m more than happy to be here.’
‘When the offer came it was quite logical; my heart talked,’ he said of taking the Monaco job.