Ahead of the first leg of Arsenal’s Europa League quarterfinal clash with Napoli, Carlo Ancelotti spoke briefly to Sky Sports before going out for his pre-match press conference.
He firstly made the point that Unai Emery has more experience in this competition than him.
“His past explains his competence and his ability to prepare this kind of games”, he said.
The Gunners’ boss really does have an impressive record when it comes to UEFA’s second-tier club competition, having won it three times in a row with Sevilla.
Ancelotti believes himself to be in a tough situation because of it, but he hopes to adapt and recover quickly. He wants his team to be brave on Thursday at the Emirates, or else, he fears they may be overpowered by an opponent of such quality as Arsenal. On the other hand, he is confident about the strategy he has worked out in his mind, and now it’s a matter of how well he’ll be able to communicate his plan to his players.
If Emery has done well in the Europa League so far, the 59-year-old has had a far more impressive managerial career so far. True, he hasn’t won this particular competition yet, but the fact that he has been guiding his teams through the Champions League most of the time goes a long way in explaining that. His trophy collection is incredible: the 1999 Intertoto Cup with Juventus; the 2003/04 Serie A, the 2002/03 Coppa Italia, the 2002/03 and 2006/07 Champions League with AC Milan; the 2009/10 double of Premier League and FA Cup with Chelsea, the 2012/13 Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain; the 2013/14 double of Copa Del Rey and Champions League with Real Madrid; the 2016/17 Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.
Despite Ancelotti trying to assume an underdog role against Emery, it’s very clear who the more experienced manager is.
The Italian was one of the names linked with Arsenal as a possible successor to Arsene Wenger, though it all turned out to have been rumours. Ancelotti spoke of his meeting with Wenger, but he stressed that the Arsenal job had nothing to do with it as Emery was already in place – it happened apparently last September.