NEWS
Monday February 17 2020
Ancelotti: 'Finally a battle for top spot'

Former Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti enjoys the title race in Serie A, but has claimed Juventus have an advantage in Cristiano Ronaldo.

Everton coach Ancelotti left Serie A during the first half of the season, after struggling to compete at the top of Italian football with Napoli.

Despite the Partenopei’s absence at the top this year, Juventus have two new challengers for the Scudetto, and the race is wide open after 24 games.

Only three points separate the top three and Ancelotti has been impressed by both Inter and Lazio this season.

“I’m happy that everything is still open, there are many battles [in Serie A] and finally also a battle for the first place,” Ancelotti told Rai Uno. “I don’t think it’s Juventus’ fault. Inter have invested a lot and Lazio are doing well.

“Football is about perception. I don’t know what you enjoy most between the style of [Atalanta coach Gianpiero] Gasperini or [Hellas Verona coach] Ivan Juric, which attracts a lot. Or the ones of [Manchester City coach Pep] Guardiola or [Juventus coach Maurizio] Sarri.”

Ancelotti pointed out that the new Nerazzurri midfielder Christian Eriksen “needs time to adapt” before making a big impact at Inter.

“He is an excellent player; he didn’t play much at Tottenham during his last period there. He will become a starter at Inter, even if it’s difficult to talk about starters in football today, with all the matches that are played.

“He has just arrived and needs time to adapt.”

Juventus are currently back on top, one point above Lazio after the results this weekend and Ancelotti has praised Maurizio Sarri for his job so far at the Allianz Stadium.

“He is doing his job,” Ancelotti added. “He is top of the League and now the Champions League starts again, and where it is difficult to establish a favourite. It would be difficult for Sarri to ask for more.”

Ancelotti also claimed that it’s an advantage in having Cristiano Ronaldo in the side, scoffing at the suggestions claiming the Bianconeri are playing better when the Portuguese star is on the bench.

“We are talking about a phenomenon that scores goals in every game,” Ancelotti added. “For a club and for a coach, Ronaldo is a fundamental player. When you start the game with him on the pitch, you start with a 1-0 lead.”

Lazio are currently the Old Lady’s closest rival and the 60-year-old remembers the Biancoceleste team that beat him to the Scudetto in 1999-00.

“When I coached Juventus and they won the Scudetto, they had a great team. Today, I think they have less quality but are very solid. They play very clear football and they know what they’re doing.

“[Ciro] Immobile is in a state of grace and everything is possible at home for the Biancoceleste.”

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