The one time France international has criticised his ex-colleague after a disastrous first foray into management, which may be coming to an abrupt end
Emmanuel Petit believes his former Arsenal team-mate Thierry Henry has failed to understand how to make the step from being a player to a manager, after it was confirmed on Thursday night that he has been suspended as Monaco head coach before a final decision is made on his future.
Henry is now tipped to leave his first managerial post after overseeing just four league wins in three months in charge of the Ligue 1 team, as his clashes with match officials, opposition players and colourful comments in his press conferences have added to the confusion around his brief reign.
The former Arsenal striker was forced to apologise after he admitted using offensive language to berate Strasbourg’s Kenny Lala during Monaco’s 5-1 defeat last weekend, with Petit telling Goal that Henry has been taught a harsh lesson in what looks set to be a doomed first foray into management.
“In his short time at Monaco, we have seen too many times his frustration on the bench,” Petit began. “Also, he has made too many weird comments after games and he lets his frustration become too much.
“It looks to me like he is still a player in his mind and he has to understand how to be 100 per-cent a manager. Maybe that has been his biggest problem at Monaco.
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“Sometimes when you are a great player and then a TV pundit, you make comments that you might not make if you realise what it is like to be a manager.
“The world has changed so much and football has changed so much since Thierry was a player, so you cannot compare this game to what it was 10 or 20 years ago.
“I don’t think Thierry saw that coming when he went into Monaco. Maybe he felt his personality would be enough to turn this team around, but it hasn’t worked and as a manager, this will be a very big lesson for him.
“He understands that when you are a manager, you can have an impact on your team, but now he knows what it is like to feel helpless on the bench.
“When you are a player, you have the power to change what it’s happening on the pitch. Now he is not a manager 100 per-cent as he is still learning what it is like to have some of his power taken away and, as well, how to behave.
“He is still learning how to pick a team, set up his tactics, his man management skills and, on top of that as well, his body language and his communication needs to improve if he is to succeed as a coach.”
Petit offered up a more encouraging assessment of his former Arsenal midfield partner Patrick Vieira, who has made steady progress in his first season as Nice boss.
“Patrick is a calm guy and he understands how to be a manager better at this moment,” added Petit.
“We saw how he handled the situation with Mario Balotelli, for example. He was fed up with this guy, put him out of his dressing room and now he has gone to Marseille. That sends a strong message to the dressing room.
“Patrick is learning very quickly and the time he had in MLS with New York City and when he was training the Manchester City academy was also helpful or him. His experience as a coach before he took on a job in a big league was important for him and maybe this is why he has done better than Thierry.”
Leonardo Jardim, Henry’s predecessor at Monaco, is being widely tipped to return to the club and replace Henry as head coach in the coming days.
Emmanuel Petit is a Paddy Power ambassador and you can read his views at news.paddypower.com