Thierry Henry on why 2020 with CF Montréal was his most "challenging" year as a coach

Thierry Henry — Montreal Impact — Hand gesture

In his first extensive comments since his departure from the club last month, former CF Montréal head coach Thierry Henry detailed the difficulties he faced in charge of the team during the 2020 season, a year he called the most difficult of his young coaching career because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Appearing on Monday Night Football as an analyst as part of Sky Sports' coverage of the Premier League, Henry answered questions about the particular struggles he and his team faced as COVID-19 travel restrictions required Montréal and MLS' other Canadian teams to spend much of the 2020 season on the road. Henry, who departed Montréal on Feb. 25 in order to return to London to be with his children, said he personally had to quarantine for around 150 days over the last year, only one challenge in a series of them.

"It became very difficult to try to perform," Henry said. "Players were getting injured, not seeing their family, but I learned a lot on the human side of it. It was tough. It was a tough, tough year but we managed to do what we wanted to do meaning going into the playoffs — obviously we didn't win it — and an OK run in the Champions League, but it was challenging."

Henry said he learned a lot about human interaction during the 2020 season, including how exactly traveling constantly during a pandemic adds to the regular grind of a soccer season. Ultimately, though, the challenging campaign could stand Henry in good stead for the next stop in his coaching career, wherever it may be.

"I learned that nobody really cares about that," he said. "You have to be the leader of the pack, the captain and make sure you can control that situation. It wasn't easy, we managed to do it."

Since Henry's departure, CF Montréal have announced the appointment of the club's long-term assistant coach Wilfried Nancy as his replacement.