Impact head-coach Thierry Henry, a veteran of tournament-play decided not to compare the up-coming Florida competition to his previous experiences during today’s video-conference.
“We all know why it is different.
“Normally when I played in a tournament we played and perhaps next day we could walk in the town or city. Also normally when there’s a tournament a team plays 3-5 games to prepare. We’ve not had the opportunity for this. So it’s difficult, it’s not a normal situation.
“It’s not easy to start a tournament [without preparation] in your first [group] match. In general, you try a lot of things, tactics and combinations, and in this case, it is the first time in my life I find myself in a situation like this. It’s the unknown”
Henry doesn’t complain and of course understands the situation where his party will have to continually adapt to the conditions.
“Nobody has lived this before,” Henry said. “We’re going to have to go through it. Whatever’s going to come our way, we’re going to have to be ready. It’s an awkward one, as we all know.
“For now, the players are fine. We’ll see how it goes. But we are preparing to play a tournament, whatever the conditions. The team is ready to go and fight to defend the club colours.”
The former Arsenal star revealed that a couple of friends and family members had contacted the virus, but all are now fine having made a full recovery.
Talking about the scheduled clash with Toronto FC, Henry related to conversations he’s had with some within the Impact camp including Patrice Bernier, whom he named specifically.
“You know, I know it is a special game,” Henry said. “I’m not going to pretend I know all about it because I don’t. I just arrived and I know I’m going to feel it. We won’t have fans and fans usually bring a special addition into the game normally, but we’re going to have to deal with what we’re going to have to deal with, as you know the situation.
“It is an important game and, trust me, everybody is letting me know how special it is.”
Henry was also asked about the Black Lives Matter movement and said he had something he would like to do, to show support for the movement in Orlando, but didn’t elaborate.
“I think we all know that Black Lives Matter,” Henry said. “We’ve been talking about it. Everyone is doing it, everyone is showing that they’re starting to understand our pain.”
The Impact party will travel to Florida on Thursday. The tournament begins for the Impact a week later when they take on New England Revolution at 8pm. The opening match between Orlando City and Inter-Miami is a day earlier.
Montreal’s group games are six days apart and following the Revs challenge, Thierry Henry gets his first taste of a Montreal-Toronto derby, albeit in peculiar circumstances in an empty arena. Group play winds up against DC United, the Impact hoping by then to have enough points on the board, to advance to the knock-out stage of the competition.