Wednesday January 31 2018
Ancelotti: ‘Never doubted Gattuso’

Former Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti declares he “never doubted” Gennaro Gattuso could improve the team.

The 58-year-old won the Champions League twice with the Rossoneri, with Ringhio a crucial man in his midfield.

“Great, Rino, I’m happy for him,” Ancelotti told Corriere dello Sport.

“I never doubted that he could transmit his soul, his character and his determination to the players. Indeed, if I were in their place I’d be careful not to take a step back with him around.

“With Rino, you don’t mess about.”

Ancelotti was being interviewed ahead of the return of the Champions League, having won the competition three times.

“Compared to the past it’ll be even harder than usual for every team to win the Champions League.

“The teams have imporoved, and as a result the candidates to reach the final have increased. At first there were four or five: the two Spaniards, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and then recently Juventus.

“Now you can add two or three English teams to that, and Paris Saint-Germain. When you consider Real Madrid-PSG is a Last 16 tie you get an idea of how hard it is for everyone.

“In terms of their play, I think Manchester City are the most beautiful to watch and the best equipped for the final victory.

“We know the Champions League well though, what you say today can be proved wrong tomorrow. It’s a competition where the details are so important that you just need one injury the day before a game and everything is complicated.

“Let’s say Manchester City are favourites for the moment. Stronger than Manchester United? Right now yes, above all from a technical point of view.

“Manchester United-Sevilla? [Vincenzo] Montella is settling at Sevilla, a team used to competing in Europe, and Manchester United will have to be careful.

“As for Porto-Liverpool, Liverpool are favourites for two reasons. Firstly because they’re very competitive over two legs, and secondly because they signed an extraordinary player like Mohamed Salah.

“Real Madrid-PSG? It’s difficult to think Madrid are in crisis, because I saw a good reaction against Valencia.

“There was probably a bit of satisfaction from the players after everything they’ve won, that’s inevitable sometimes.

“The Champions League is the only competition Real Madrid can win now though, so you have to be very attentive to Zinedine Zidane.

“If they make it past PSG they’ll become very difficult to stop, not least because among Los Blancos there’s a certain Cristiano [Ronaldo] a player who never wants to lose.

“PSG have Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, they have it in them to win the Champion League.

“They have more experience and quality than last year and they’re more mature. Last year they were on the verge of eliminating Barcelona, but then we know what happened…

“This year PSG have grown though, it’s a pity we have to play a tie like this in the second round, because after it one of the teams will no longer be a Champions League protagonist.”

Carletto then went on to discuss the two Italian representatives, starting with Juventus, another side he has coaches.

“The final is their goal, but it’s more difficult to get to Kiev this year,” Ancelotti warned.

“It’s a broader fight. Juventus’ strength is their defence. Solidity and consistency: that’s Juve.

“They’re a team who hardly ever gets it wrong for a game, and it’s even more rare they get it wrong for a sustained period.

“Even when they encounter problems on the pitch they always get a result, just like they’re doing now.

“It won’t be easy for them against Tottenham [Hotspur] though. Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in Europe, along with Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappé.

“The real novelty is Salah.

“As for Roma, I think it’s just a bit of tranquility and results they’ve been lacking recently. I don’t know why that would be, but that’s football.

“Football is determined by physical condition, by the motivation of the players. It just takes a slight drop off and everything becomes more complicated.

“If they can find a bit of motivation against Shakhtar [Donetsk] they can do it.

“Napoli’s elimination? It’s too bad, because they play great football but they’re never lucky in the Champions League.

“Last year they went out in the Last 16 to Real Madrid, who lifted the trophy, this year to Manchester City who could win it.

“Can they win the Scudetto? Who can say? When Juve are hungry they’re difficult to stop, but Napoli are flying in the league and have a very strong attack.”

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: