PHILADELPHIA – Last year’s All-Star Game defeat to Manchester United still stings Thierry Henry a little bit. And in some small way, it sounds like he views this year’s matchup with Chelsea as a bit of redemption.
“The guys, they’ll be excited to play against a team like Chelsea,” Henry told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. “If you’re not happy to play against Chelsea, then there’s something wrong."
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Henry’s All-Star debut 12 months ago didn’t quite go to plan, despite playing in front of his home crowd at Red Bull Arena. The French icon was involved in several good buildups in the first half, in which the MLS side nearly scored on three separate occasions.
But Manchester United made them pay for those squandered chances, and put a 4-0 hurting on the All-Stars, an all-too-familiar outcome for the longtime Arsenal icon.
“I thought we played better than them,” Henry said. “We just didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. That’s the story of football. That’s just the way it is. I lost against them so many times before.”
Henry hopes that experience served as a lesson for Wednesday’s matchup against Chelsea (8:30 pm ET, ESPN2, TeleFutura, TSN/RDS in Canada, live chat on MLSsoccer.com), another of his former Premier League rivals, who also happen to be the defending champions of Europe.
He says he doesn't need to give any advice or inside information on the Blues to his teammates, not even to the nine first-time All-Stars on this year’s roster.
But according to Henry, there is one key to success in getting the edge this time around, and it’s a simple one: finishing.
“That was the difference between Man. United and MLS at that time,” he said. “We have to try to put the ball in the back of the net [Wednesday].”