Jardim back at Monaco to replace fired Thierry Henry

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              FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019 file photo, Monaco coach Thierry Henry gives instructions during the League One soccer match between Marseille and Monaco at the Velodrome stadium, in Marseille, southern France.  Henry is facing an anxious wait while his Monaco future is decided, with the club battling to avoid relegation amid rising tensions between Henry and players in the squad, it was reported on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)
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Monaco fired Thierry Henry and re-hired title-winning coach Leonardo Jardim on Friday, three months after sacking him to make way for the France great.

Henry won four of 20 matches after replacing Jardim in mid-October, leaving the club second from bottom in the French league ahead of Saturday’s trip to fellow struggler Dijon.

“Thierry Henry is a football legend but unfavorable circumstances, and especially the number of injured players, did not allow him to quickly and efficiently get the team out of this crisis,” Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev said. “I would like to thank Thierry for taking up this challenge and for having tried to lead the team where he first started (as a player).”

Monaco could not afford to give Henry more time, Vasilyev said, “which is why we took the decision.”

After receiving a reported 8 million euros ($9.13 million) in compensation when they parted ways, Jardim is now back at Monaco after signing a two-and-a-half-year contract.

It is proving a costly season for the club on and off the pitch.

The 44-year-old Jardim led Monaco to the league title in 2017, beating defending champion Paris Saint-Germain by eight points, and it reached the Champions League semifinals the same year.

His side played a brand of breathtaking attacking football that thrilled Europe and produced more than 150 goals in all competitions that season.

But after several key players were sold, Monaco slipped behind PSG last season and struggled from the outset in this campaign.

“Our club is going through a very difficult time. I’m ready to say now I bear full responsibility. We have to accept that we sold too many important players,” Vasilyev said. “It meant we weren’t able to build a new competitive team. In the same way, the firing of Jardim was too premature.”

When he was fired, Monaco had not won in 10 games and the side was third from bottom.

“We now realize Jardim’s time with the club did not end as it should have done,” Vasilyev added. “We should have given him the chance to continue his work.”

Things did not improve under Henry and the club hopes Jardim can inspire the players and avoid relegation for the eight-time French champion.

Monaco is through to the League Cup semifinals and plays at Guingamp on Tuesday.

Jardim will have Henry’s new January recruits at his disposal — notably former Spain and Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

Fabregas, Henry’s former Arsenal teammate, has played two games since leaving Chelsea.

Vasilyev said more players could join before the end of the transfer window next week.