Friday August 24 2018
Ancelotti: ‘Scudetto not utopian’

Napoli Coach Carlo Ancelotti doesn’t believe aiming for the Scudetto is utopian - “it’s a dream that comes from what was done last year”.

The Partenopei fell four points short under Maurizio Sarri last season, despite setting a club record points total of 91.

“There are dreams and then there are utopias,” Ancelotti explained in his pre-Milan Press conference.

“Chasing utopias is risky, the dream comes from what was done last year, falling just a step short with a squad which hasn’t changed.

“We’re not lacking much, and that’s what gives us hope.

“What was missing last year, three or four points? We need to look for those points match-by-match and week-by-week, with concentration, application and the group we have.

“We’ve changed a few things and we hope to reap the benefits very soon.”

Juventus Coach Max Allegri believes the Scudetto winners will need 88 points this season.

“I don’t know, there will be more competition at the top with Inter, Milan and Roma, so maybe the Scudetto quota will fall.”

Tomorrow will be a special match for Carletto, who faces his former club, coached by his former midfielder Gennaro Gattuso.

“We need to be focused, it’s an important match where we want to present this Napoli to our fans and improve on what we did last weekend against an opponent which expects a lot from this match.

“It’s a renewed Milan surrounded by enthusiasm, we hope it’ll be beautiful for us.

“Is it the pupil against the teacher? No, that makes me feel old… I’m happy if my former players are coaching.

“I think I gave them a lot, hopefully they won’t take anything from me tomorrow.

“Gattuso and I speak often, but not about food. We both have a lot to think about together. It’s always a pleasure to meet Rino, as well as all of those who worked with me there, [Paolo] Maldini, Leonardo… everyone who is still there.”

Gonzalo Higuain will be returning to Naples, where he’s still reviled for leaving for Juventus in 2016.

“The Napoli players know him better than me, but my line is always that we have to think about what we need to do.

“Whenever we’ve played against [Lionel] Messi or others I’ve preferred not to talk about it. Higuain is formidable in front of goal, but we’ll play our game to try and afford him fewer chances.”

Ancelotti also discussed the injury situation.

“We don’t have many problems, the only one is Fabian [Ruiz] who isn’t available and will be back in training next week.”