Thursday September 6 2012
Ancelotti respects Milan and Juve

Paris Saint-Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti respects the Champions League threat from Italy, but insists Barcelona and Real Madrid are in pole position for the trophy.

“Those two Spanish clubs are favourites,” Ancelotti, whose own side have returned to Europe’s top table, told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Barcelona are still a strong side – even without boss Pep Guardiola. However, I have seen them be less aggressive and a bit more inattentive in defence. They look more vulnerable than in the past.”

Juventus are being widely tipped by a variety of Europe’s top tacticians to do well this term, but Ancelotti is well aware of Milan’s continental pedigree – having won the European Cup as a player and Coach with the Diavolo.

“It will be up to Massimiliano Allegri to sort out Milan after their latest buys. But the Champions League is in the DNA of that club and we shouldn’t forget it.

“Juventus could surprise in Europe. They have a game plan which is based on speed and intensity. But they also won last season because they only had one tournament to focus on. It will be different with the Champions League.

“Nevertheless, Juventus impressed me last season and that was down to three men in particular – boss Antonio Conte, Andrea Pirlo and President Andrea Agnelli.

“I got to know Agnelli when I was at Juventus and I knew he would become a great club director.”