Carlo Ancelotti has advice on Fernando Torres, reveals it was “harder” at Milan than Real Madrid and he’d only return to San Siro.
He has been nominated for the FIFA Coach of the Year award along with Joachim Low and Diego Simeone, having won the Champions League and this weekend set a new club record of 16 consecutive victories.
“I am a fortunate Coach because I have a fantastic squad. Aside from their quality, this is a very professional group that accepts my decisions,” he told Milan Channel.
“It was actually harder to assemble Pirlo with Rui Costa, Seedorf and Rivaldo rather than Isco, James Rodriguez and Kroos, because that was the first time I was totally changing my philosophy of football.
“This season I was helped by our success last term, as that already set out the right path.”
When asked which clubs he feared in the race to retain the Champions League, Ancelotti picked Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Chelsea.
Naturally, he had advice for current Milan boss Pippo Inzaghi, who helped Ancelotti win many trophies as a striker.
“Pippo is doing well, he’s committed to his work and like everything there is huge enthusiasm at the start, then you make mistakes and learn from them. He’s fired up and Milan are getting back there slowly, but there needs to be patience. It’s a new era beginning with Pippo and some interesting young players who have to grow.
“He needs to do what he feels like doing, because it’s ultimately his job to make the decisions. Personally, I learned a great deal from Arrigo Sacchi, so if Pippo has taken something from me then it’s probably in terms of training rather than tactics, as those depend on the characteristics of players at your disposal.
“I think this Milan lacks a bit of quality in the build-up, but Montolivo can improve that a lot, as Essien and De Jong are experienced, but don’t have the technical quality of a Montolivo.”
Ancelotti has worked with many of the current Rossoneri players at other clubs, such as Torres at Chelsea, Diego Lopez at Real Madrid, Jeremy Menez and Alex at PSG.
“Pippo needs to evaluate the direct rapport he has with Torres and find the right buttons to press in order to motivate and improve him. Torres is very professional and won’t let being dropped knock him down, as he’s a very balanced lad.
“Diego Lopez is a goalkeeper Milan had been tracking for a long time, already when we were trying to replace Dida. He is very reliable.
“When Alex is in good shape, he is still one of the best defenders in the world. Menez played many games as a centre-forward at PSG because Ibrahimovic likes to have a reference point next to him and his pace was a valuable weapon.
“If he finds the right environment, he can make the difference with his quality. Menez has an unusual personality, he’s a good lad who doesn’t always find the right motivation to give his best. Having a positive environment around him helps and I think he found it at Milan.”
When Ancelotti was in charge of Milan, it was reported that President Silvio Berlusconi would demand certain players start.
“I always had a fantastic rapport with the President, despite everyone saying he dictated the line-ups to me. He never criticised me in moments of difficulty, in fact he just criticised when we were top of the table or after a Champions League victory so he could motivate us.”
Ancelotti has won titles in England, France and Spain, but will he try again in Serie A?
“The truth is that if I came back to Italy, I’d only do it for Milan.”