Henry bids to get back on track in wide role
Published 04/09/2007 | 09:11
Thierry Henry admits that he is still acclimatising to his new role at Barcelona."I need to readapt to play as a winger," the Catalans' £16.1m summer signing has said. The Frenchman did not fare well when he played in a similar role for Juventus before signing for Arsenal in 1999, and yesterday he added: "It's a long time since I've played there and I'm doing my best to adapt."
Henry, whose wife, the model Claire Merry, was granted a divorce in the High Court in London yesterday, made his competitive debut for Barcelona in Sunday's 3-1 home victory over Athletic Bilbao. He won a penalty and hit the post for the second game in succession, but could not score his first goal.
"I've hit the left post and the right post," he said. "So I'll probably hit the bar in the next game and then score in the one after that. I'm not too disappointed."
The Barcelona coach, Frank Rijkaard, could be seen instructing the Frenchman to stay wide, with Ronaldinho playing as the central attacker in the absence of the injured Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi on the right.
"I am trying to get back on track, but I can tell there is a great improvement with each game that I play," said Henry.
Barcelona's fans appreciated Henry's efforts, affording him a standing ovation after he was replaced by the 18-year-old Mexican Giovanni Dos Santos in the 59th minute.
"I was surprised at the reaction of the fans," the Frenchman said. "It was amazing and I wanted to stay out there to show the fans some more. I am still lacking minutes at the end of matches, but it was great to be part of such a good side and I'm just happy that we won – that's the most important thing. It doesn't have to be a personal thing. We started the game well and at times we played with style. But it's still only the beginning for me."
Henry had responsibility for free-kicks and penalties at Arsenal, but captain Ronaldinho takes both at Barça and the Brazilian's two goals on Sunday came from a penalty awarded after a foul on Henry and a free-kick. " Ronaldinho's free-kick was outstanding and I knew that he'd score the penalty," Henry added.
* Seville completed the line-up for the Champions League group stage with a 4-1 away victory over AEK Athens. The Spanish side won 6-1 on aggregate and take their place in Group H alongside Arsenal. The second leg had been postponed following the death of Seville's Antonio Puerta last week.