It was dangerous when CF Montréal employed Thierry Henry as their head coach in November 2019, given his short, rocky and ill-fated tenure at Ligue 1’s AS Monaco just a few months prior. However the French legend’s fame, upside and razor-sharp soccer mind made it a worthwhile gamble for a membership looking each management and id.
Then after Henry stepped down last month, CFM had been confronted with one other big alternative, and with far much less time to make it than earlier than. Had Henry and his employees laid a basis value saving and constructing upon, or did the necessity for persona and charisma necessitate the hiring of one other big identify?
By selecting Henry’s first assistant Wilfried Nancy, Montréal have picked the primary possibility – signaling a mix of optimism and pragmatism concerning the state of the membership’s rebuild. It’s not the sexiest alternative, for lack of a greater time period, however anybody underwhelmed by the move ought to contemplate the painstaking course of that the Quebecois side labored via over the past 14 months.
“Last year, we did an excellent job. As a result of it was not straightforward, and I believe with Thierry and the employees, we made some good video games with our fashion of play. And I want to continue that,” Nancy advised reporters on Monday, a delicate nod to the myriad challenges Montréal navigated to achieve the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the primary time in 4 years.
“If now we have a transparent imaginative and prescient, and we wish to put all of the stuff in place, I am fairly certain that we are able to do one thing superb.”
It’s a bit counterintuitive, however Montréal have primarily determined that profiting from the unfinished legacy Henry left behind is to position the mission within the arms of a really un-Titi-like determine. Although he is French by delivery, Nancy is “a child of the membership,” within the phrases of sporting director Olivier Renard, a deeply revered determine across the locker room who’s coached at a number of ranges since arriving in 2011 to assist launch Montréal’s academy.
Un gars de la maison. 👏@wilfriednancy nommé entraîneur-chef du Club >>> https://t.co/jkNjevyiZa
— CF Montréal (@clubdefootmtl) March 8, 2021
Although he carries a résumé as knowledgeable player, Nancy has earned credibility along with his work on the coaching ground, first main youth teams and later as Henry’s right-hand man. He is aware of the roster. He is aware of the town and its fiercely distinctive tradition. And he is aware of who’s coming down the pipeline, no small matter contemplating that Montréal have positioned youth growth on the coronary heart of their evolving id.
“The truth that now we have a young team, that is my life-style. I prefer to take initiative, I prefer to take possession about a whole lot of stuff. So we will be an excellent team, proactive, dynamic … What I like is that my players are going to arrange the moment, to defend or attack,” said Nancy, who like many round CFM, switches seamlessly between two primary tongues.
“Children give us slightly extra flexibility,” he later added in French, “and what pursuits me is creating the membership’s young players.”
The Montréal sides that first grabbed the MLS highlight had been veteran outfits led by Ignacio Piatti and Didier Drogba, usually cagey, comfy sitting deep and breaking out on the counter, flashing catenaccio tendencies to match proprietor Joey Saputo’s ties to Italy, the place he additionally owns Serie A membership Bologna. It was devastating when it labored, although consistency was elusive.
Occasions have modified, and Montréal are clearly one thing completely different at the moment, even when they’re nonetheless en path to what and who they want to be. That sort of reinvention is troublesome, painstaking work, and whereas nobody will get captivated with ethical victories, their respectable 2020 counts as such. That is precisely what Renard was introduced in to supervise.
With COVID-19-imposed border restrictions forcing one other prolonged residency away from home this spring, this time in Florida, the duty most likely gained’t get any simpler. However that’s just the form of enterprise that Nancy has spent the past decade making ready for.
“Me, I’m the type of person who, I like when every thing is evident and easy for the player, and need guys additionally to precise themselves inside the construction,” said the man recognized merely as “Wil” to most of his colleagues. “On the end of the day, I believe you want the method … now with Olivier, the imaginative and prescient is evident.”