Lots to learn from 'incredible' Simeone: Henry

MADRID • Fledgling coach Thierry Henry admitted he could learn a lot from Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone, after marvelling at the grizzled 48-year-old manager's boundless energy as his Monaco side lost 2-0 in the Champions League.

Goals from Koke and Antoine Griezmann clinched Atletico's place in the last 16 and ensured struggling Monaco will finish bottom of Group A, ending their slim hopes of qualifying for the Europa League as the third-placed side.

But Arsenal and France great Henry, whose team have won just once and lost five of their eight games since he took up his first managerial job after a spell as assistant coach of Belgium, was left in awe of the Argentinian's passion.

"I have a lot to learn from Simeone. Look how he always acts," he said after Wednesday's setback.

"His team were winning 2-0 and he never left his players alone. He kept on shouting at them to stay focused and run back.

"That intensity which he brings to the team, which he used to have as a player, is incredible."

He can now focus on trying to steer Monaco, who are second-last in Ligue One, to safety.

Simeone is setting his sights on maintaining Atletico's push for the LaLiga title and plotting a possible path to the Champions League final, which will be held at their own Wanda Metropolitano next June.

And after seeing Atletico up close, Henry believes they are more than capable of winning European football's elite competition for the first time after losing two finals in agonising circumstances to Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016.

The 41-year-old added: "He is so passionate about football, he seems like he is still a player. For me, Simeone is a reference point for all coaches.

"Why couldn't they win it? With the team and the coach I saw today, I say they certainly can."

Group A rivals Borussia Dortmund progressed into the last 16 after a goal-less stalemate at home to Club Brugge, while already-qualified Barcelona overcame PSV Eindhoven 2-1 away to finish top of Group B courtesy of Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique.

Porto also clinched top spot in Group D after a 3-1 home win over Schalke, which saw both sides secure passage to the knockout stage.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2018, with the headline 'Lots to learn from 'incredible' Simeone: Henry'. Print Edition | Subscribe