Despite being out of the Napoli job for less than 24 hours, Carlo Ancelotti still offered his replacement Gennaro Gattuso some advice
Gennaro Gattuso has taken over from Carlo Ancelotti at Napoli but received advice from the former head coach on how to turn their fortunes around.
Ancelotti was sacked in the hours following Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Genk that secured progression to the Champions League last 16, his position having come under intense scrutiny amid poor form and a reported rift between the players and president Aurelio De Laurentiis.
Napoli announced Gattuso as their new boss on Wednesday, and the 41-year-old made sure to reach out to Ancelotti – who he won two Champions League titles under as a Milan player – before he was presented to the media.
“We spoke this morning, even though I wanted to talk to him last night. These days were not easy. I knew I had to clarify things with him and explain my decision,” said Gattuso, who had been out of work since leaving Milan in May after failing to secure Champions League qualification.
“I grew up with Ancelotti – we won so much together. Six years ago, I started coaching and when I had difficulties I called him; he always made himself available and was always very kind.
“He confirmed that today. He told me where the team can improve and once again showed himself to be a great man.
“He was very open, we talked and I keep that to myself. It was very, very important for me to hear what he said.
“But don’t compare us. He won everything, I am a young coach and I have to show a lot more. I hope to win 10 per cent of what he won.”
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“If the president had offered me only six months, I would’ve taken that too because this is a huge opportunity. It feels like these players are made for my style of football.”
Disharmony between the players and De Laurentiis appeared to reach a head last month when the first-team squad apparently refused to attend a week-long training camp.
The club suggested in a statement that they could punish players, possibly with fines, promising to do “everything in its power to protect its economic interests, assets, image rights and disciplinary interests”.
Gattuso sounded keen to offer a clean slate to the squad as he outlined his aim to lift them from seventh in Serie A into the Champions League qualifying spots.
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“Bitterness and personal issues won’t get us anywhere. We have to get Napoli back to where it belongs.
“It’s a big difference between fourth and fifth place in terms of the financial benefits. Seeing this team in seventh is a little embarrassing.
“The team is well aware that the performances have not been the best, but yes, our objective is to reach the Champions League. I missed out last season with Milan by a point, but this team has everything it takes to achieve that.”