Thierry Henry returns to Ligue 1 for the first time in 19 years this weekend, tasked with dragging a crisis-hit Monaco away from the relegation zone after a miserable start to the season.
The Arsenal great came through the youth system at the principality club in the 1990s, and is now mirroring the start of his playing career with his first job as a head coach, after a two-year spell as assistant to Roberto Martinez with the Belgian national side.
The 41-year-old has a difficult job ahead of him, with Monaco occupying the relegation play-off spot and only above the bottom two on goal difference, and he knows that his immediate job is just to arrest the slide.
“How do you define success? It’s difficult. At a big European club success is winning the Champions League,” said Henry ahead of his first game in charge at Strasbourg on Saturday.
“At other clubs, it’s winning the league or helping players get better.
“Long term, it’s really far away when I know the situation we’re in here and what we need to do.”
Leonardo Jardim was sacked as Monaco boss last week after a hugely successful spell in charge which saw the club win the French title in 2017 and finish as runners-up to Paris Saint-Germain last season, but the constant changes of playing personnel eventually got the better of him.
Monaco have gone 10 matches without a win since beating Nantes on the opening weekend of the Ligue 1 season, including home defeats by Angers and Rennes in recent weeks.
Their fans will be desperately hoping that Henry, who scored over 400 goals in a glittering playing career, can coax the best out of under-performing youngsters like Youri Tielemans and Aleksandr Golovin.
“For me, a coach is supposed to make people better first and foremost,” 1998 World Cup winner Henry said.
“Improving players for me is already a success, but then you have different types of success.”
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