Henry evokes Guardiola’s hiring at Barca when discussing Petke’s head coaching debut with RBNY

By IVES GALARCEP

HARRISON, N.J.– It was a natural question to ask Thierry Henry after the New York Red Bulls hired a coach with no head coaching experience. Did the team consult with him bout the decision to hire Mike Petke. Henry confirmed that the team did speak to him about the hiring, but made it clear it was only to let him know who they had chosen to hire.

“Although I think that everybody thinks that I pull the strings here, I don’t,” Henry said. “They told me that Mike was going to be the boss. I thought that was something clever.

“Instead of losing time, I don’t know who they had in mind. I don’t know what was happening or who they were going to approach or sign. I knew there were some names were up in the air,” Henry said. “But I was like ‘Petke is a fan. He loves the club. He played here. He finished here. The fans love him. he knows the league. He knows the players that are in the team that we have. He knows the players that we have to play against, so it’s not like he’s going to have to need to have a guy that knows the league or tell him who we’re playing against’.

“Mike knows. I think, for me, that can only be a plus.”

Henry also dismissed the notion that hiring Petke was a mistake because of his lack of experience, and he offered up the ultimate example of how choosing a young coach can pay off big time.

“Some (of the media) have already asked me the question ‘Is he not too young?’ ‘Might be inexperienced’,” Henry said. “I’m like ‘to get experience you have to start somewhere’.

“Obviously I’m not going to compare him to Pep Guardiola but what I’m saying is when Pep Guardiola took charge of (Barcelona) in 2008-2009, everybody was like “Oh, he only had one year of coaching with the reserve team. Why, why, why we don’t get a big big or a big name?’ and suddenly the guy won six trophies in one year, which had never been done before,” Henry said. And now look at how they are talking about Pep Guardiola.

“I’m more using Mike with Pep in the sense of you have to start somewhere to have experience,” Henry said. “I think it’s the right place for him to start. Obviously he’s going to have to put his DNA in the team and hopefully it’s going to work.”

Henry wasn’t the only big-name Red Bulls player to give Petke full backing. Tim Cahill was also complimentary of New York’s latest head coach.

“I’ve only been at two clubs, and I’ve had great relationship with my managers, especially (Everton manager) David Moyes,” Cahill said. “That’s the reason why we were successful. For Petke to be the manager is unbelievable. For the club, the league, the Red Bulls, it’s really important that we make inroads.

“I think, for the league, it’s brought some massive credibility to the Red Bulls,” Cahill said. “A real identity with the fans and, for me, it’s what the team needs. He’s a boss that knows a lot about the team, and in the infrastructure from bottom to top.”

The Red Bulls are in a state of transition this pre-season. Not only because of the new coaching staff, but also because of the massive overhaul of the roster. With so many new faces, and a rookie head coach trying to make his mark on the team, the Red Bulls are still a work in progress, even as they have enjoyed a good start to the pre-season.

“It’s still not there yet. We still have two more weeks to go. It’s still kind of raw right now but we’re working on some stuff in training, how Mike wants us to play and hopefully it’s going to work,” Henry said. “It might not work right from the start, but hopefully we’re going to stick with him and hopefully the fans are also going to give Mike some time.

“I have no doubt about that though because the fans really love Mike and they have to understand that it’s the first time he takes charge with a team,” Henry said. “New players and new everything so hopefully we can start the season with a couple of wins, but we all know it’s going to be hard with the two games we have to start with.”

Petke will make his head coaching debut in three weeks when the Red Bulls travel to Portland to take on the Timbers on the opening weekend of the 2013 MLS season, and while he is sure to have his growing pains, one thing Petke does have is the backing of the team’s biggest player.

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36 Responses to Henry evokes Guardiola’s hiring at Barca when discussing Petke’s head coaching debut with RBNY

  1. UseCommonSenseDude says:

    “It’s still not there yet. We still have two more weeks to go. It’s still kind of raw right now but we’re working on some stuff in training, how Mike wants us to play and hopefully it’s going to work,” Henry said. “It might not work right from the start, but hopefully we’re going to stick with him and hopefully the fans are also going to give Mike some time.

    “I have no doubt about that though because the fans really love Mike and they have to understand that it’s the first time he takes charge with a team,” Henry said. “New players and new everything so hopefully we can start the season with a couple of wins, but we all know it’s going to be hard with the two games we have to start with.”

    Henry haters, keep talking

    • Nate Dollars says:

      not sure what your point is here. are you impressed that henry didn’t say nasty things about his manager in an interview?

      i don’t think most people hate henry because he’s an arrogant moron like c. ronaldo; he’s not going to go out there and sound stupid.

      they hate him because he’s a whining cheater.

      • Old School says:

        Arrogant moron like Ronaldo?

        • Nate Dollars says:

          to clarify, i don’t think henry’s an arrogant moron like c. ronaldo. if that’s what you were questioning.

      • dan says:

        whining cheater?

        i’m a spurs supporter and id never even call him that

        • Nate Dollars says:

          never watched him at arsenal, so maybe he was different back then, but look to the ireland-france 2010 quals to see the cheating, and look to almost any one of his games in mls for the whining.

          • Pete says:

            Nate whining and being frustrated is two different things…have you ever seen Donovan play , now that is a whining bitch . He whining about everything and anything if its against galaxy .Henry is a class , yeah he had a moment of weaknes( hand ball) , but beside that he is class. Btw Maradona did even worst than that , sometimes when you want to win really bad you cheat .

            • Nate Dollars says:

              funny you mention donovan, because i was going to use him (and beckham) as other instances where you would hope that their (unofficial) status as mls ‘stars’ would urge them to stay classy.

              unfortunately, they are three of the whiniest players in the league.

            • Lil' Zeke says:

              I do think Henry takes satisfaction in getting away with stuff… planting his knee in a downed player’s back, thwarting (and injuring) Kevin Hartman as we was about to kick a dead ball, the famous handball. What about that free kick goal for Arsenal while everybody on both teams was still setting up? Not everybody who wants to win really bad cheats; but it’s one weapon (of many) not missing from Henry’s arsenal.

      • UseCommonSenseDude says:

        It’s funny because Henry says how he feels all of the time. I’ve met Petke numerous of times and he has spoken about Thierry on a personal level. I haven’t personally seen Thierry out of a controlled soccer environment but I’d take Petke’s word wholeheartedly. You comment on people that you haven’t met before in your life like a girl does to reality television.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          ‘You comment on people that you haven’t met before in your life like a girl does to reality television.’

          this was kind of funny, considering your comments.

          you’ve met petke, and so you know that ‘Henry says how he feels all of the time’? wow.

          basically, i’ll believe what i’ve seen through video replay on numerous outlets, and you’ll believe whatever a team staffer says about their star player.

    • chris says:

      Whats your point? Henrys is saying what every one else is thinking. This doesnt make him less of a b!tch

      • UseCommonSenseDude says:

        So he is lying to the media and saying the “right things”. Wake up, life isn’t an afternoon soap opera.

        • chris says:

          What??? Where did I say he was lying? I said those quotes do nothing to make him less of a pompus whining b!tch

  2. Nate Dollars says:

    well, i’ll just say that i’m not too pleased with the hiring of petke. as someone who rejoices in nyrb’s (constant) failure, this was disappointing.

    i’m not saying that nyrb won’t fail with petke. i just don’t think it will be a spectacular failure, and, as everyone knows, spectacular failure is the best failure.

    • Jacknut says:

      I know what you mean. As a DC fan, any RBNY move that smacks of competence and forethought is a disappointment to me.

  3. solles says:

    Well its a plus that Red Bull came to their senses and didnt hire Sousa but Petke is pretty underwhelming IMHO. Henry sounds like a guy who’s not convinced but is taking his leadership role seriously by saying the right things.

    • Other James says:

      I’m curious what you’re reading into that says he’s not convinced? I can’t blame him if he is, but there’s absolutely no undertone that I detect from this.

      • Sean says:

        The only thing that stood out for me is the repeated use of “hopefully”. I wonder if Henry will enjoy being part of this rebuilding process. He already has a few seasons where he was disappointed. Short of winning a trophy, he may be disappointed. Hopefully he’s on board.

      • solles says:

        Just a feeling I suppose, saying things like Petke “knows MLS” and the Red Bulls well instead of things like “he’ll be a great coach” or whatnot. Paul Mariner “knows MLS” pretty well too and look how he did at Toronto.

    • malkin says:

      Red Bull came to their senses? I don’t think that was the case…wasn’t it just visa issues?

  4. Eugene says:

    They’ve looked good in preseason. As a fan, I’m happy with that. I AM worried about the Portland match to open the season, because I remember the blow-out start at Seattle in 2009, and obviously starting with two road games is a bit of a challenge, but I think this team will be pretty solid this season.

    Petke will have time to learn on the job.

  5. Jacknut says:

    That graph doesn’t show what you think it shows.

  6. George says:

    Look, the way I see it, Petke’s tenure with the MetroStars and RBNY earned him a lifetime of reasonable doubt in an assistant coaching position. But the Houlliers and Roxburghs and de Bontins of the world do not offer head coaching positions on nostalgic whims.

    Clearly, Petke performed well in his roles under Backe, and while he obviously wasn’t their first choice, if any party thought he would blow it, we would probably still be waiting for the stalemate to be over.

  7. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Henry said all the things that you’d expect him to say. Thant said, it does really look like Petke is being given all of the support he needs to get this going. Whether or not he will get the support he think he needs once the season is in full swing (trades, transfers, cuts) we will see.

  8. Sean says:

    How frickin’ excited is Mike going to be walking into Portland’s stadium, shaking hands with the opposing coach, and feeling the power of the opposing fans while leading his hometown team??? Wow, that’ll be something to see!

  9. alex says:

    The link was broken by the time I got to it, but assuming it says what you’ve stated there are all kinds of statistical questions or relationships that could throw off the relationship you think you’re seeing between two variables.

    Maybe teams that spend money on players also spend money on coaches
    Maybe teams that have more fans spend more money on salary

    Basically all kinds of correlation / causation problems as well as chicken / egg arguments.

    • Lil' Zeke says:

      to say nothing of the inherent insufficiency of the sample size. You’d really need a thousand MLS teams give or take to draw any statistically significant correlations. And by then you’re talking about more butts in seats than there are residents of NYC. Somebody’s barking up the wrong tree.

  10. Gary Page says:

    Well, Jason Kreis and Ben Olsen both have worked out well in the same situation. I think Kreis went almost straight from retirement to coach. Also, we have the possibility of Ryan Nelsen in Toronto–I lost track, is he now off or on?

  11. TomG says:

    Interesting mix with Petke, Henry, Cahill, and Juninho, all very strong leaders. People forget that Juninho is one of the great leaders in the game. Will the on field leadership jell with each other and with the coaching staff. If so, there’s more than enough know how to go around. If not, it could be a long season.

    • Adam M. says:

      Juninho is the key this year assuming everyone reamins basically healthy. He’s had a brilliant European career, was still solid with Vasco last year, and remains a deadly weapon on free kicks and from distance. If he is motivated, he should be an absolute game changer for Red Bulls given where he plays. I’d expect him to be a better all-around player than Beckham was for LA in his best year, I’d expect him to score more, and with Henry up top, to assist more. Even if he doesn’t produce at that level, he’ still a much better player than they have (ever) had at his position, which has been a major problem for them recently.

      • TomG says:

        Yes, he’s pretty much a manager on the field. He could be invaluable if healthy, considering Petke’s inexperience.

  12. Brain Guy says:

    Patience has to be the theme for RBNY fans this season. New coach, revamped roster, new front office, even starting with two road games. We (and the organization) need to sit back and let things settle for a bit. There will be bumps and disappointments, but the one thing that RBNY needs is stability. Even champions (see LA 2012) sometimes start poorly.

  13. tony stewart says:

    i agree that junhino will be a great influence if healthy on the field. Hopefully, he can get Henry to be more of a leader and less critial of his teamates. I also think that the red bulls need to finalize their signings. the season is here and the starting lineups should be ready. Unfortunately they are not. they need to get wingers and help in the midfield.
    their decisions as of late seem questionable to me. Letting cintron go was a mistake i think that he is a player with a bright future and could have been great off the bench. the big question for me is that they are letting go of a couple of potentials like cintron to bring in erick who is a potential who hasn’t panned out. let’s hope they know better, but i dont see it! hopefully in the next few days there are good signings! they need to sign obekop and domingues they are good players that could be potential starters when the older players become injured

  14. Frank says:

    That was a joke right? Comparing Barca to an MLS team?