Saturday July 13 2019
Ancelotti: 'James will take time'

Carlo Ancelotti discussed the importance of Kostas Manolas and Arkadiusz Milik to Napoli, but warns James Rodriguez talks “are going to take a very long time.”

The Partenopei lost their first pre-season friendly, falling 2-1 to Pippo Inzaghi’s Serie B outfit Benevento.

“I wasn’t expecting much, because we’re doing so much preventative fitness work preparing for the season ahead,” the Coach told TV Luna.

“The players are also slowly arriving, so we don’t have the complete squad available yet. We missed a few too many scoring opportunities today, something we did a lot last term.”

Manolas completed his transfer from Roma today, undergoing his medical in Rome before travelling by train with Lorenzo Insigne, where both arrived in Dimaro this evening.

“We’re waiting for Manolas to arrive, as he is a strong, quick player who with Kalidou Koulibaly will form an extraordinary defensive partnership. Their power and pace will allow us to play further up the field and be more aggressive going forward.

“The system will be a 4-4-2 when defending, while in attack we’ll build from three at the back, moving a full-back further forward, or even two defenders by lowering a midfielder and pushing another close to the strikers. That latter situation is useful against a five-man defence.

“Having Faouzi Ghoulam on the left and Elseid Hysaj on the right, that makes us tend to be more attacking down the left flank and keeping the right-back deep.”

Ancelotti was asked about the on-going negotiations for Real Madrid creative midfielder James Rodriguez and interest in Inter outcast Mauro Icardi.

“James can play in many positions behind the centre-forward. He is a Number 10 accustomed to playing behind the striker or as a winger, with the tendency to cut inside.

“I sent him a happy birthday message this week. There are negotiations in progress, it’s going to take a very long time, but we aren’t desperate or anything. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll still be a strong team and might go for a different target.

“As for the striker, a modern centre-forward can’t just be a finisher now, which is why Arkadiusz Milik is very important for us.”

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: