Carlo Ancelotti insists his first Napoli year was “transitional. We drew back the arrow, now we are ready to strike” at the Scudetto and Champions League.
The Coach turns 60 today and gave a lengthy interview with the Corriere dello Sport newspaper.
“This was a transitional first season. We drew back the arrow, now we are ready to strike,” he said of replacing Maurizio Sarri and that 4-3-3 formation.
“The 4-4-2 is a system that allows you to cover the spaces much better, especially when defending. When going forward, at times we used 3-1-5-1, at others 2-3-4-1.
“The problem with the 4-3-3 system is you don’t have much density in attack through the centre, and often the centre-forward finds himself alone against two defenders.
“The team went really well up until December and if we hadn’t run into Liverpool in our group, we would’ve comfortably qualified for the Round of 16.
“After the winter break, some lost their intensity and we only just rediscovered it in the final push. We also really missed Raul Albiol during his long injury absence.”
Ancelotti is now 60, so how does he keep his tactical and management ideas fresh?
“Football changes continually, you can never stop or you’ll get left behind. This year we did some new things, for example building out from the back with a three-man defence. I have a young staff that keeps me up to date and fired up.
“That includes my son, Davide. He is the most critical voice in the group, perhaps also because he is so close to me. I listen to everyone and then draw my own conclusions.
“It also helps to have a director of sport who knows everything about everyone. Cristiano Giuntoli could easily do a quiz. One day, just to test him, I asked about a Turkish third-division midfielder. Well, he told me everything including how often this player went to the bathroom.”
The longest professional rapport for Ancelotti was with Adriano Galliani at Milan.
“Galliani is the best of them all. I also had some pretty much violent discussions with him, but he was fundamental in every moment of my adventure at Milan. He provided protection, mediation and consideration.
“As a Coach, Galliani was the ideal director. Nobody could match him.”