Sunday January 20 2019
Ancelotti: 'No Napoli first choice XI'

Carlo Ancelotti is glad his Napoli squad rotation is paying off after beating Lazio 2-1, with Arkadiusz Milik and Fabian Ruiz becoming stars.

Despite having Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne and Allan suspended, with Marek Hamsik injured, they still managed to get the victory against one of the contenders for fourth place.

“We were missing a lot of players today, but you really couldn’t tell at all, so that shows our strength in depth. It is a squad capable of handling three tournaments,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“We had moments of difficulty, some of which we could’ve dealt with better and there were some naïve errors, but overall there was a lot of quality.”
Milik scored a sensational free kick and hit the woodwork twice this evening.

“Milik is Milik! He can only improve by maintaining the consistency he has right now. He was practically out of action with injuries for two years, so we knew that we’d have to wait a while for him to find his form.

“We did a lot of work with him on fitness and physicality, putting more strength in his legs. When a player is out for two years, it is natural to need time to get used to the timing and movement again. We knew he would require patience.”

With Marek Hamsik out injured and Allan suspended, Fabian Ruiz has shone in his new more central playmaker position.

“Fabian Ruiz has done well on the left in the first half of the season, now he is doing well in a central role. He has good vision and confidence, can move forward quickly and bring quality. He is a great, great modern midfielder.

“I think we’ll carry on this way, seeing as everyone is doing so well, there is no need to have a first choice XI.”

Ancelotti was asked if the squad rotation also included the goalkeepers.

“Akex Meret hasn’t played that much. He is a great talent, I am very happy with all three goalkeepers, as they have all given us guarantees when called upon. We get a mix between talent, experience, character. Meret can improve also thanks to working with the experienced David Ospina and Orestis Karnezis.”

Jose Callejon finally got his first goal of the season, having played over 1,200 minutes without finding the net.

“We try to keep the wingers wide and make the most of the width of the field. That means Callejon doesn’t attack the space behind their full-back the way he used to, or at least not quite as much.”

Napoli are breaking further away from Inter, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Sassuolo, but are they genuinely keeping Scudetto dreams alive?

“I told the lads we are up there, we can keep going along our path and we’ll see what happens. Something will happen, either way…”