Thursday December 5 2019
What next for Napoli?

With Napoli seemingly no closer to ending their bad run, Marcello Cossali-Francis asks whether they should stick with Carlo Ancelotti or turn to Gennaro Gattuso...

Well, who would have thought at the end of last season that Napoli would be in the position they currently find themselves in?

Carlo Ancelotti and his troubled side sit seventh in Serie A following another defeat last weekend – to fellow strugglers Bologna, at home – and are now eight points behind the Champions League places, 17 behind pace-setters Inter. The season is almost already a write-off and it all appears to be their own doing. 

It all started with the infamous ‘ritiro’ a month ago, after the Salzburg game in the Champions League. What is actually quite hard to get your head around is why the players refused to go in the first place. They are fairly normal in Italian football and, given the way Napoli were performing, an intense week of training would surely have been beneficial.

What that does, therefore, suggest, is that there is a breakdown in the relationship between the players, backroom staff and, in particular, President Aurelio De Laurentiis. That in itself is a huge problem and, unfortunately for all involved with Napoli, looks like being an issue with very few positive results. 

The performances of players on the pitch are not good enough, the stars of the team don’t seem to be having the impact they should be and - all in all - the side look relatively uninterested with football right now. What happens now? 

Reports over the last few days have suggested that if Ancelotti’s time isn’t already over, then the next two results against Udinese and Genk in Serie A and the Champions League respectively will decide whether or not Carletto will spend Christmas in Naples. 

Gennaro Gattuso is the name on everyone’s lips as the replacement, should the Partenopei decide to dismiss the 60-year-old. A smart choice? That remains to be seen but, right now, Napoli do need someone that is going to take back control of the dressing room - something that doesn’t appear to be happening right now. 

Gattuso certainly has the character to win the dressing room over and, given that this Napoli side are still full of quality all over the pitch, you feel they just need revitalising and a few decent results for things to improve. 

Udinese and Genk are must-wins, regardless of the managerial sideshow. Napoli know that a win against the Belgians next week will see them qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, while victory on Saturday will see them close the gap on the top six. 

The Azzurri are in self-destruct mode right now, and you sense that these next two matches are huge on so many levels. But just as they put themselves into this position, they are very capable of working their way out of it and turning their season around. The question is, will that take place with or without Ancelotti?

Tottenham Hotspur are the latest example of a club revitalised by the appointment of a new coach, even it came just months after Mauricio Pochettino guided them to a first-ever Champions League Final. Napoli’s players haven’t become bad overnight, so a quick jolt could breathe life back into a project that is going increasingly stale.

On the other hand, we’ve seen at Manchester United how the initial feelgood factor of a new regime can fizzle out very quickly. And Gattuso, like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, for all his efforts in almost guiding Milan back into the Champions League, exposed a general lack of tactical acumen, which arguably ended up costing the Rossoneri a top-four place.

Whatever happens, the next few games and decision to stick or part with Ancelotti will not only impact on the rest of the season but also the foreseeable future.

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Have your say...
Ralph Hasenhüttl is the best option for FC Napoli, he played very similar style of lively attacking football with RB Leipzig.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 11:22am
Now the squad will be completely depleted, just what the Northern working for Robentus wanted, and Napoli will be just a very average mid to lower table club, letting the big boys of the North to win all the titles withou challenge as usual. Mertens,Allan,+ Callejon, and maybe more will depart as soon as January so greedy ADL can meke more money, he does not care about Napoli, or anything else for that matter, he will be rewarded by his friends, the Agnellis most likely.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 12:39am
The Presstitutes got Ancelotti's head because he dared put mediocre INSIGNE where he belongs, on the bench, the Insigne lobby has won, and unfortunately Napoli has lost. The Northern press likes Insgne only if he plays for Napoli so that they won't win anything, since he is a 3rd grade footballer, and the Souhern presstiutes lobby for him because they are paid by the Camorra to do so. Sad, sad, sad.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 12:31am
All the Presstitutes of the establishment (MediaJuv) are wetting their nickers, gagging like voltures for Ancelotti to be replaced by a failed Milan man, even if he is from Naples, he is and, will always be a Milan man, but also a failed coach, it does not make sense to get rid of Ancelotti for a NOBODY like Gattuso whose mouth is considerably bigger than his footballing skills.We don't need Gattuso, we have Carlo.
on the 10th December, 2019 at 2:46pm
There's no doubt there's psychological problem in Napoli, but to believe that Rino Ed Reja will replace Ancelotti? Under him, they play tactically the best offensive football not just in Serie A, but were side by side with the best in Europe (remember L'Pool 1st match? PERFECTION). So u think Rino can improve that? The man has neither technical, let alone tactical knowledge! I'm Milan fan & love him, but he's only motivator. One mustn't compare with Tottenham - he's no Mourinho. ADL is insane!
on the 10th December, 2019 at 1:19am
@Xander95. Agreed, but Ancelotti has always been much more of a cup man than a league winner. Yes, he's won league titles almost everywhere, but one league title doesn't show consistency. My impression is that he's too nice.

@everyone else. Agreed that Gattuso is not the answer. They need to sign someone to begin from June, not midseason and locked in for another year. Specially not Gattuso. I think Gasperini would be perfect for this club, but he'd only come at the end of the season...
on the 9th December, 2019 at 11:16pm
How stupid to talk about Gattuso when you have Ancelotti, the crisis was made 100% by ADL who only knows how to make quick money. He is trying it with Callejon and Mertens, he has never had a vision for the future of the club, he always manipulated players against tifosi, he is doing it again at the detriment of the club. Ancelotti did make mistakes, but nothing as big as ADL's, He should shut it and let people work serenely.
on the 7th December, 2019 at 1:23am
@FERBAN: We're waiting for you in Munich, next Wednesday ;-))
on the 6th December, 2019 at 10:33pm
Serie A need salary/payroll caps as in USA sports this will level the playing field. Juve is owned by a multi billion dollar conglomerate where ADL is worth about 50 Million. So of course a team like Juve and also Inter Milan can spend unlimited amounts and the smaller teams cannot compete. This is also why the league is so unbalanced. With all that Napoli is still competing and dont be surprised if they get further in UCL then other counterparts. The coach will take time as did Sarri.
on the 6th December, 2019 at 6:25pm
@ A Varsavia

Revitalised AFTER the loss to Bayern.
on the 6th December, 2019 at 3:04pm
@Xander please explain to me how Napoli's champions league group was difficult. Since when are Genk and Salsburg difficult opponents? Last season yes they were unlucky in the group they were placed in but this season most agreed that their group was easy to get out of but instead they drew away to Genk and drew at home to Salsburg.
on the 6th December, 2019 at 12:33pm
Ancelotti is very decent coach (and I say that as a FC Bayern fan). I'm afraid ADL players' image rights policy will not bring good players to Napoli.
Mertens is scoring, so I'd go for his contract renewal.
Insigne is wasting a lot of shots.
on the 6th December, 2019 at 9:57am
well said BUT replacing or firing Ancelotti with Gattuso isn't the answer, it'll be worse. Let Ancelotti finish til the end of the season then revamp the squad & the coach.
on the 6th December, 2019 at 6:39am
well said BUT replacing or firing Ancelotti with Gattuso isn't the answer, it'll be worse. Let Ancelotti finish til the end of the season then revamp the squad & the coach.
on the 6th December, 2019 at 6:38am
Napoli has ran out its cycle out for the core players its relied on over the last years, Aurelio De Laurentiis has refused to make expenditures to invest for the future of the team and today it shows as the team is fizzling out and fans will watch the desertion
of players coming, once this happens it will be near impossible to attract real talented players to come to Napoli in the future as, reinvestment as Juve has done is crucial to
bringing talent to your squad,Im afraid sad times are ahead
on the 6th December, 2019 at 1:25am
@Napoli, worst coach ? I am not a fan of Ancelotti's dedication to 4-4-2 or is it a 4-2-4 I cant really tell but he seems to be guiding them out of a very difficult champions league group and a win and draw against Liverpool, the reigning Champions and most inform team in Europe is not what the 'worst coach ' does
on the 6th December, 2019 at 12:14am
The club has many issues
1. Autocratic president
2. End of a cycle and lack of spending
3. Lack of ambition by club and disillusioned players

But let’s be clear the main issue is Ancelotti. He is dated and not suited for the modern game. The issues have been there for over a year when Sarriball started to fade away. Ancelotti had the same problems at Bayern were he was fired..

Napoli must get rid of him asap. We went from the best coach in our history to the worst. So downfall was expected.
on the 5th December, 2019 at 9:38pm
How 2:7 defeat in London to FC Bayern revitalised Tottenham?
on the 5th December, 2019 at 6:08pm
Napoli's demise seems to be the flavour at the moment as blog after blog is on them, Milan and Juventus. Personally I have started to watch Cagliari to see what has made them such a good side this season as this kind of thing makes me curious. I am not a blogger but if I was I'd write about them, what has changed this season, players that have caused this sudden rise up the table, about their manager from his past managerial jobs to now and how he has evolved. Reading about the same teams is meh
on the 5th December, 2019 at 5:37pm
I would prefer letting go of older out of contract players of the squad instead of Ancelotti. They have got no spark, no fight left in them.
on the 5th December, 2019 at 2:53pm
This cycle is over at Napoli. The writing was on the wall last year already when Ancelotti stopped Sarriball. So this will be a big summer for Napoli. Likely gone are Mertens and Callejon. Possible gone are Koulibaly, Allan and Fabian. This is the backbone of the squad. If this all happens we might not see Napoli in the top 4 for a while.
on the 5th December, 2019 at 2:33pm
If Gattuso gets the job, it'll probably be because there's no one better around to take it, or they won't splash out on a better manager.

Would Allegri go there? Probably not. Pochettino would be hard to attract too.

But at least they held out vs Liverpool last week, which has put them in with a real shot of winning their CL group - barring a disaster, of course.
on the 5th December, 2019 at 2:10pm

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