Saturday December 17 2011
Ancelotti: 'Italians better than Brits'

Carlo Ancelotti believes Milan are “superior to Arsenal,” while Napoli can eliminate Chelsea.

Both Italians have been paired with English clubs in the Champions League final 16, while Inter take on Olympique Marseille.

“I am a Milanista through and through, so when I am cheering on my team, I find it difficult to be rational,” confessed the former Coach in the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“In any case, I think Milan are superior to Arsenal. Massimiliano Allegri has great champions, as Arsenal don’t have anyone like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, nor Pato or Robinho.

“They do have Robin Van Persie, that is true, but we also have Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva. Milan are the favourites, but I won’t forget Arsenal knocked us out of the Champions League in 2008.

“Arsenal are a side who always try to play their football and move it around, as that is the philosophy of the club. In order to reach the quarter-finals, Milan have to ensure their greater individual technique makes the difference.

“Arsenal had a bad start and were hammered at Old Trafford by Manchester United, but they are back on track now. I follow Arsenal regularly and can confirm they play pretty well now.”

Ancelotti is also a former Chelsea manager, but is cheering on Napoli in their showdown.

“Italian football has made steps forward and the English game is not in great shape, what with Manchester City and Manchester United’s elimination.

“Napoli already achieved something remarkable by beating a City side that is dominating the Premier League, so I don’t see why they can’t repeat it.

“Of course, it requires a great performance, but Walter Mazzarri’s team can improve a lot from now to February. Chelsea try to make possession their main strength, while Napoli are very dangerous when they win the ball back and go on the counter.

“If that’s the situation, then Chelsea have to be very wary of the pace shown by Marek Hamsik, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani, Christian Maggio and the rest. They are absolutely deadly on the counter-attack.

“After a difficult period, Chelsea seem to be back in shape. It all depends on what physical condition the teams are in when the games come round. The only advantage Chelsea might have is their international experience, but I believe Napoli’s enthusiasm and grit can bridge that gap.”

Inter have a trip to France against Didier Deschamps’ side Olympique Marseille.

“With a great deal of patience, Claudio Ranieri is trying to put the season back on its feet. In my view, in the long run, he will do it. The Nerazzurri have world class players and in the Champions League quality does make the difference.”

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