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Cavani hat-trick sends PSG to 4-0 win over Monaco

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Thierry Henry will be seeing Edinson Cavani in his nightmares.

The new AS Monaco manager, tasked with not just taking the club out of the relegation zone but bringing it back to relevance, has found the task tougher than imagined, obliterated by Paris Saint-Germain 4-0. Cavani had a hat-trick and Neymar added the icing on the cake as the visitors to the province moved 13 points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table.

Cavani was in the right place at the right time constantly, as all three of his goals were essentially tap-ins, although the second he was forced into a full stretch to reach the cross from Moussa Diaby. He scored his first just four minutes into the match, in space at the far post and there to redirect a Neymar shot on target. The second came in the 11th minute as Monaco found itself in a massive deficit early, and the third came just after halftime as Diaby got by the defense down the left and crossed to Cavani streaking through the back line.

Kylian Mbappe drew a penalty past the hour mark, and Neymar put it past Diego Benaglio for the 4-0 lead.

Henry has had little to cling to since taking over as Monaco boss, having earned just a single point through four matches in charge. The club hasn’t won since the first match of the season, and sits 19th in the Ligue 1 table with seven points, only off the bottom due to Guingamp’s far worse goal difference.

Thierry Henry reacts to latest setback for AS Monaco

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A disastrous night at home left Thierry Henry to again sort through wreckage of what is fast becoming one of the biggest surprise failures in recent club history.

Not just AS Monaco, but any big club.

Monaco lost 4-0 to Club Brugge on Tuesday, and the match wasn’t in Belgium. Henry has managed just five matches for the club, and there are just two draws in the bunch.

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One of those was against Brugge in Belgium, so it stood to reason that Tuesday gave Monaco a good chance to give Henry his first win as a manager.

That did not happen. Here’s what Henry had to say, via

“When we look at the tactics, we had problems at the beginning of the game. We had opportunities despite their defense, but if you do not put the ball away, it becomes difficult.”

“What I remember tonight is that we lost a new player, Kamil Glik, I also remember the good entries of Massengo and Gouano who tried to boost Sofiane Diop, who was still good tonight, and Moussa Sylla improved. Young people are pulling us up.”

“We have to try to find the right path, now we know what to focus on and we must try to be positive, we have to try to do everything to find calmness, but as long as you don’t win, we miss it, it’s difficult.”

Monaco cannot qualify for the knockout rounds, and is unlikely to reach the Europa League via third place in Group A. That will be good for the club, which will need to sort out its status in Ligue 1; Monaco is 19th in Ligue 1, and hosts PSG on Sunday before the international break.

Ligue 1: Thierry Henry still seeking first win with Monaco

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PARIS (AP) Thierry Henry still seeks his first win as a coach after Monaco drew at home with Dijon 2-2 in the French league on Saturday.

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The France great replaced Leonardo Jardim this month and has drawn two games and lost one. He inherited a squad low on confidence and decimated by injury, however, with first-choice forwards Radamel Falcao and Stevan Jovetic and No. 1 goalkeeper Danijel Subasic all sidelined.

Henry would have been proud of Monaco’s opening goal, powerfully volleyed home by German defender Benjamin Henrichs after 30 minutes.

But poor defending led to Dijon’s equalizer four minutes later, with defender Mickael Alphonse given too much space.

After midfielder Mehdi Abeid turned in a cross from the right in the 58th to put Dijon ahead, Poland defender Kamil Glik headed in a free kick in the 79th to prevent a demoralizing defeat.

Portuguese forward Rafael Leao scored his first goal for Lille to beat Caen 1-0 at home and stay second behind Paris Saint-Germain.

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Montpellier remained three points behind Lille in third place after winning at Toulouse 3-0.

So much for not celebrating scoring against your former club.

After making it 2-0 in the 25th with a sharp finish, striker Andy Delort sprinted away in brazen jubilation and slid on his knees as he let out a shout of joy. Delort is on loan from Toulouse, but made it clear this week he does not want to go back there next season.

Delort’s strike partner, Gaetan Laborde, also scored and their partnership is blossoming. At the back, Montpellier has the second best defense behind PSG.

Memphis Depay came off the bench to set up one goal and score the other as fourth-place Lyon won at 10-man Angers 2-1.

Lyon played with an extra man from the 34th minute, after Angers captain Ismael Traore was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on striker Moussa Dembele.

But the visitors couldn’t make the breakthrough until midway through the second half when midfielder Houssem Aouar headed in after being set up by Depay.

Dembele then broke free down the left and squared the ball to Depay, the Netherlands forward finishing with a powerful strike.

Spanish striker Cristian Lopez’s scored a consolation in the 89th.

PSG rampant without Neymar; Henry’s miserable debut

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PARIS (AP) Neymar was not missed as runaway French leader Paris Saint-Germain crushed Amiens 5-0 on Saturday for a 10th straight league win.

Neymar was given a few days off by coach Thomas Tuchel after playing for Brazil in the international break. PSG faces Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday and is then away to bitter rival Marseille on Sunday.

Except for Neymar, PSG’s lineup was near full-strength and the defending champion easily extended the best start to the league. PSG is averaging nearly four goals per game, but should have scored even more at home. Some sloppy finishing will not have impressed Tuchel, who is trying to instill more intensity into the side.

“It wasn’t a great performance,” the demanding Tuchel said. “But we were serious and worked hard for each other.”

Winger Angel Di Maria set up the first two goals with superb delivery from corners, taken from the right and curled with his left foot. It should have been 3-0 moments later, but striker Edinson Cavani somehow shot wide when he had an open goal.

Germany winger Julian Draxler got the third, and a minute later France World Cup star Kylian Mbappe curled a shot through the legs of a defender for his ninth league goal. Moussa Diaby skillfully slotted home the fifth.

Thierry Henry’s coaching debut was miserable as Monaco lost at Strasbourg 2-1, finished with 10 men, lost top scorer Radamel Falcao to injury, and slipped to 19th place.

Henry, the all-time leading scorer for France and Arsenal, got an ovation from the Strasbourg fans when he walked out.

But his ambitions were undermined without his best two goalkeepers who were injured, and two defenders who were suspended. No. 3 goalkeeper Seydou Sy clumsily fumbled a header from midfielder Adrien Thomasson to gift Strasbourg the lead after 17 minutes.

Falcao limped off with what looked like a left-thigh injury in the 36th. Henry took a risk selecting Falcao, considering he played late Wednesday night for Colombia.

Henry then lost another forward, this time to a red card, when Samuel Grandsir was sent off midway through the second half.

Strasbourg made the most of it when South Africa striker Lebo Mothiba was released and confidently dinked the ball over Sy.

Midfielder Youri Tielemans’ injury-time penalty for Monaco was too late.

Second-place Lille remained eight points behind PSG after winning at Dijon 2-1.

Striker Nicolas Pepe scored a penalty and helped set up Brazilian forward Luiz Araujo just before halftime.

Emiliano Sala grabbed a hat trick as Nantes beat Toulouse 4-0 at home to move above Monaco into 18th place.

Last-place Guingamp drew at Caen 0-0, and Reims was held by Angers to 1-1.

Marseille, Montpellier, Saint-Etienne and Bordeaux play on Sunday and all have a chance to overtake Lyon in third place.

Marseille travels to play Nice; Saint-Etienne faces Rennes, and Montpellier hosts Bordeaux.

How tough is the task ahead of Henry’s Monaco debut?

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PARIS (AP) Thierry Henry’s managerial career could hardly be starting under more challenging circumstances, with struggling Monaco leaking goals, hit by injuries and low on confidence.

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The French great, who started his glittering playing career at Monaco, takes over a side sitting 18th in the top flight.

Monaco has won just once in 11 games – including two defeats in the Champions League – and the poor run cost Leonardo Jardim his job .

“The reality is morale isn’t at its highest,” Henry said ahead of the trip to Strasbourg on Saturday.

Strasbourg is ninth and the Alsace-based side is hard to beat at home.

Henry will be without No. 1 goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and No. 2 Diego Benaglio – who are nursing thigh injuries and sat out Thursday’s training session.

Monaco also has two defenders suspended — Jemerson and Andrea Raggi — and another out injured, while Henry must decide whether to select veteran striker Radamel Falcao, who is returning late after playing for Colombia on Wednesday night.

Jardim often rested Falcao after internationals, but Henry may have no choice but to pick his leading scorer.

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Monaco won the domestic title and reached the Champions League semifinals in 2017, scoring more than 150 goals. However, the side Henry has inherited is a far cry from that swashbuckling team.

The 41-year-old Henry helped France win the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship. He is the leading goal-scorer for his country and for Premier League Arsenal, and thrilled fans with his speed and skill.

He exudes confidence but, given Monaco’s precarious situation, he has little time to talk about his vision for the club.

“I prefer to think only of the present. What the team needs right now might not be what the team needs in two or three months. When things are calmer perhaps we can talk about those things,” Henry said.

“It’s not going to be easy to get the team to understand how I want to play. It’s always better to have the team at the start of the season, so they know the ideas.”

Henry was previously Belgium’s No. 2. During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he was praised by coach Roberto Martinez for his work helping fine-tune the squad’s fleet of forwards.

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His focus now is to shore up a Monaco defense which has leaked 13 goals in nine league games.

“We must become a team which doesn’t let in goals,” Henry said. “What the team needs now is security and balance.”

Because it’s his first job in charge, Henry will be relying on his backroom staff more than other coaches might.

“It’s important to have staff members who can say ‘no’ to you, challenge you on certain points, and perhaps have a different vision of things,” he said. “The most important thing is not having people around me who just say ‘yes, yes.'”

Monaco has a huge scouting network and a reputation for developing players before selling them on for massive profits. The best example is 19-year-old France forward Kylian Mbappe, who shone in 2017 before joining Paris Saint-Germain in a deal worth $207 million.

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Henry knows how it feels to be a young star. He made his Monaco debut at the age of 17 in 1994 and four years later he was a World Cup winner — just like Mbappe is now .

“We live in a (different) generation,” Henry said. “When I grew up, you needed to make the first step to the senior players, the first step to the coach. Now, you have to go to the new generation, understand their codes. The way they (arrive) sometimes to training, the way they walk, the little lean they have … my coach would have sent me straight back to the dressing room (for that).

“Sometimes you have to laugh, sometimes you have to be hard and sometimes you have to let them be. The trick is when. If you stay stuck on the way you grew up, then there will be a fracture, that’s for sure. You have to adapt and be patient.”