Consummate professional Carlo Ancelotti doing great things at Napoliby Chloe Beresford / 25 January 2019, 11:28Tweet
Second-place Napoli may sit nine points behind leaders Juventus in the Serie A table, but that is by no means a reflection on what new boss Carlo Ancelotti has done so far at the club.
The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo has meant that the Bianconeri have been on a different level this term, and remain unbeaten with 18 wins and only two draws from 20 matches.
That is clearly of little concern to the Partenopei boss as he continues to conduct himself with absolute professionalism and dignity during a return to his native Italy.
It is no surprise then, that Neapolitan newspaper Il Mattino have reported that club President Aurelio De Laurentiis is keen to offer the tactician a new deal, with Napoli still in with a chance of lifting the Coppa Italia and Europa League trophies this season.
Many thought that whoever replaced Maurizio Sarri would face an almost impossible task, considering that the majority of the squad were so well-drilled in his precise style of play.
Yet the experienced Ancelotti has come in and exceeded expectations, his side having almost secured Champions League qualification already with 14 points separating them and fifth-placed AC Milan.
He will meet his former side twice in four days as Napoli take on the Rossoneri in the league on Saturday and in the Coppa Italia quarter-final on Tuesday evening, yet he will approach those games with absolute confidence. Last weekend, his side came through a tough encounter with Lazio, taking all three points after a 2-1 victory.
It didn’t seem to matter that key men Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne and Allan were suspended and Captain Marek Hamsik was out injured, as his system of rotation leaves this side prepared for any eventuality.
His philosophy stands in stark contrast to that of his predecessor, who faced much criticism over his unwillingness to rest the XI he so heavily relied upon.
We were missing a lot of players today, but you really couldn’t tell at all so that shows our strength in depth,” Ancelotti told Sky Italia after the match. “It is a squad capable of handling three tournaments.”
His work in this regard will certainly stand the team in good stead as they seek a trophy, which would finally see this group of players receive something tangible as a reward for their excellent play during the past few seasons.
“It’s an important victory,” admitted experienced defender Raul Albiol after the win over Lazio.
“Since the start of the season the Coach put his faith in all of the players and it showed tonight. Many who hadn’t played as much were still ready when called upon and that is crucial.”
Ancelotti may not be in a true battle for the Scudetto just yet, but – with a proven track record in cup competitions – he may just be about to surpass Sarri’s achievements this season. If Napoli can bring home a trophy, the boss will have finally done something that the man before him ultimately came up short with.
Their football may not be as pretty and there may not be as much hype surrounding them, but Napoli are genuinely in contention for a cup this season. Carlo Ancelotti is going about his work in a quiet and professional manner, and it will be very interesting to see what results he can bring.