Monday December 24 2018
Ancelotti: ‘At Napoli to win’

Carlo Ancelotti came to Napoli “to win”, and explains how he’s shifted from Maurizio Sarri's style to his own.

The 59-year-old was appointed as Partenopei Coach in the summer, returning to Italian football after close to a decade away.

“There’s a good quality of play in the league,” Ancelotti told Corriere della Sera.

“The national team is blooding interesting young people, and there’s a new President of the FIGC [Gabriele Gravina] with clear ideas.

“Italian football is destined to grow, and certainly if there was an incentive to improve stadiums and the culture inside…

“A few steps have been taken, and in Bergamo people understood. There are two ways to convince people: persuasion and force.

“I’m for persuasion, a horse jumps the fence with both the carrot and the stick. The problem comes afterward, if you happen to walk behind it…

“I’ve always been around calm people: my father, [Nils] Liedholm, and my character was born from that.

“I can’t be an authoritarian if it’s not in my nature, I need to be credible.”

Fabio Capello has bemoned a lack of coaching in Serie A…

“From a tactical point of view there’s a lot. In Italy you get used to taking care of every detail.

“The rhythm of the play is lower though, so from that point of view it’s less physical.

“Which Coach would I study? One who I know less about, I’d say [Jurgen] Klopp or Mauricio Pochettino.

“I already know how [Max] Allegri, [Diego] Simeone, [Luciano] Spalletti, and [Pep] Guardiola work. It’s always nice to see how a Coach operates, but copying is impossible. Yet there are still those who don’t let people see training sessions.

“There isn’t just one truth, there’s no University of Football. It’s not like you can get a degree.

“Here [at Napoli] there was a team with a very specific identity, we’ve tried to be a little bit more versatile.

“Titles have been one by those who take on their man, those who dominate the ball, those who hit on the counter-attack, those who go into ritiro, those who don’t…”

Ancelotti’s Napoli are up against Juventus, who have won seven Scudetti in a row and are already eight clear this season.

“I think each of us must motivate ourselves not measuring ourselves against others, but measuring against ourselves.

“If you want to become [Leo] Messi then your path is influenced by genetics. But you can train every day to be better.

“It’s the same when it comes to the squad, if I say that we have to commit ourselves to beating Juve it’s an objective that’s too far away…

“I’ve incorporated my ideas gradually, the only thing that changed was the defensive phase as we moved from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2.

“For me that’s the most effective shape, I spoke to some of the players like Allan and [Amadou] Diawara and they made themselves available, if they hadn’t then I wouldn’t have done it.

“I’m here to win. The objective is to have a team which fights until the end of the season.”

The Partenopei face Inter on Boxing Day, with the Nerazzurri going through a difficult period.

“I don’t know, they give me the impression of being a growing club and team,” Ancelotti warned.

“Every year they bring important players.

“[Luciano] Spalletti is a friend of mine, he came to visit me in Madrid when he was out. I have respect for all my colleagues, and a lot of my former players are coaching now: [Gennaro] Gattuso, [Pippo] Inzaghi, [Alessandro] Nesta, [Massimo] Oddo.”

Finally, Carletto was asked what he’ll ask Santa for.

“I wouldn’t ask for anything, I’m happy as things are.”