Carlo Ancelotti admits he doesn’t agree with Aurelio De Laurentiis’ decision to place Napoli in ritiro but asserts his focus lies with Red Bull Salzburg.
Salzburg travel to Napoli on Tuesday, where a win for the home team might already book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
However, the Partenopei’s preparations have been marred by President De Laurentiis sending the squad to a punitive training camp after a poor run of form.
“We’ve got a match that may allow us to qualify from the group stage in the Champions League. It won’t be easy, though. We’ve seen how difficult it was to win in Salzburg,” Ancelotti said at a Press conference before the match on Tuesday.
“The rest are small details; you may agree or disagree. If you ask me what I think, I will say that I don’t agree with the decision made by the club. However, the coach must be the coach. These are the decisions that are taken by the club.
“The President called me a few moments ago to wish me good luck. Nothing has changed, the decision has been made by the club, who are rightly worried, just like we are. But regarding the importance of the match tomorrow, it’s really just a detail.”
The former Milan boss then spoke about the incident involving Mario Balotelli at the Bentegodi on Sunday, when the Brescia striker was racially abused by Verona ultras.
“Balotelli did well, he reacted in the right way. There were two stoppages in two matches, so we are on the right path.”
About Napoli’s position in Serie A, Carletto did not his concern about the gap with League leaders Juventus, given the Partenopei are only sixth.
“If I wasn’t, I would be lying. Since I’m not a liar, I am worried. But I need to keep calm and stay cool-headed in this situation, to try and change it. Luckily, we’ve got a match in the Champions League, a competition where we are doing well right now.
After a controversial week and some dubious refereeing decisions, it was again a topic during the Press conference at the San Paolo.
“It’s confusing, but I don’t want to talk about it,” he replied as he went on to talk about how he would organise his team tomorrow.
“The organisation of the team will not change with respect to our first game against them, when we tried to exploit our speed in attack by remaining compact defensively.
“I know Salzburg will come here to play, something they’ve always done. We don’t change according to the opposition.”
About the club’s ambitions in the Champions League, Ancelotti welcomed the challenge it posed on his squad, aware “small margins” would decide who went on to win the tournament.
“It’s a much shorter competition. We must get through this stage, and if we can do it tomorrow, that’s excellent,” he added.
“Then we resume in February and things can change. The Champions League is decided by small details.”
The 60-year-old also called on fans to act as the 12th man while the players tried to put their slump behind them on the pitch.
“They have always shown passion, this is one of those nights where we need the support from our fans.
“We’ve made mistakes in difficult games at the San Paolo, but also against Cagliari there was an intense atmosphere. I expect the usual support.”
He ended with a quip about the transfer market, which reopens in January, saying he was happy with the players he already had at his disposal.
“I won’t change my mind, the players who arrived [over the summer] are doing well. It’s not an individual problem or a lack of quality. We must unite our strengths and continue together.”
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