Saturday May 14 2016
Ancelotti: 'Hand in the fire for Conte'

Carlo Ancelotti praises Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City and will “put my hand in the fire” for Antonio Conte at Chelsea.

The future Bayern Munich manager sat down with The Times newspaper in London for an in-depth interview and discussed the Italian takeover of the Premier League.

“Ranieri had a tough time in his last job with Greece. Leicester had a tough season, almost relegated. But put them together and see what happens.

“You can tell it’s this relationship between Claudio and his players that has made it possible.”

The Italian contingent is growing and Chelsea have already hired current Azzurri Coach Conte for next season.

“He’s very tough, very focused on strategy. Antonio is not so diplomatic. He’s really direct. I think the owner will appreciate the intensity of his work.”

Few know Conte’s personality better than Ancelotti, as they go way back.

“He was my captain at Juventus. He was always really serious, really focused, really concentrated. As a manager he’s the same.

“He has really good experience, starting in the second division. So he won titles with Bari and Siena before Juventus. He’s really focused on the little details. I’m sure he will do a good job.

“Chelsea understand that this is a new cycle. One period stops and another starts. They have to replace Terry, Lampard, not just as the players but the personality, the image.

“Every club has this moment, Milan when they lost Maldini and Gattuso. It takes time to replace the structure. It makes it a really big challenge.

“But I spoke with Antonio and he’s really excited.”

There is the issue of a match-fixing trial from 2011 when he was accused of not reporting a potential fix while at Siena.

“It’s bull****,” declared Ancelotti. “His case will be solved without problem for him. He won’t come with a stain.

“In Italy, they make a big case because it’s him. But with Antonio, I can put my hand in the fire for him. He’s really serious, really honest, a really, really good man.”

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