Friday 17 November 2017

Sacked Ancelotti eyes return to Premier League

Carlo Ancelotti. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images
Carlo Ancelotti. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Jamie Holland

Carlo Ancelotti is hoping to resume his managerial career in the Premier League after being sacked by Bayern Munich.

The 58-year-old Italian was expected to leave Bayern at the end of this season, with a break clause in his contract and Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann lined up to replace him.

However, Wednesday's 3-0 hammering by Paris St-Germain prompted Bayern to show him the door earlier than planned after months of growing discontent at the club.

"The performance of our team since the start of the season did not meet the expectations we put on them," said Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

"I would like to thank Carlo for his co-operation. Carlo is my friend and will remain my friend, but we had to make a professional decision. The game in Paris clearly showed that we had to draw consequences."

Ancelotti was sacked upon Bayern's return to Munich from Paris, with his assistant, the former Bayern defender and French international Willy Sagnol, put in temporary charge.

Dismissal

The dismissal places Bayern in a difficult situation given it is unlikely that they will be able to bring Nagelsmann to the club earlier than planned and it may well be they keep Sagnol in place for the rest of this season.

Former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel is also available.

The writing has been on the wall for Ancelotti for some time despite Bayern winning the German title last season - his first at the club.

Bayern were beaten in the quarter-finals of last season's Champions League and the semi-finals of the German Cup. Bayern are currently third in the Bundesliga.

As far back as January 2017, the players and club officials knew that they just weren't really firing as a team.

Something was off. Something was slacker, even if it wasn't yet obvious on the surface.

Sure, they were still winning games well and putting together some brilliant football but the growing feeling throughout the club was that was mere muscle memory after the high-intensity, highly-sophisticated work of Pep Guardiola - and a muscle memory that was gradually fading.

Those at Bayern were surprised by just how low-intensity and laissez-faire Carlo Ancelotti's work was in contrast to the Catalan, how lacking in deeper tactical ideas and preparation it was.

While the fact that he matched Bob Paisley in winning the European Cup three times should be greatly appreciated, Ancelotti's league record of just four domestic titles in almost 20 years at the world's wealthiest clubs tells a different tale.

The Italian has the type of personality and experience that meant he could perfectly manage mentalities and egos for intermittent big games and keep things ticking over.

However, he was no better than mediocre in terms of applying the grander longer-term projects required to really drive league campaigns. He just didn't have the relentlessness, the rigour.

It is no coincidence that two of those mere four league titles came in the one-horse races of France or Germany, and that two of the biggest domestic upsets in recent years - the victories of Montpellier and Atletico Madrid - came at the expense of PSG and Real Madrid, teams managed by the Italian.

Yet, having won league titles in Italy, England, France, Spain and Germany, he is likely to receive offers from around the world - including one from AC Milan, unless Vincenzo Montella improves the club's fortunes soon.

But it is understood that Ancelotti would prefer a return to England, if the right club becomes available, having spent two seasons at Chelsea where he became the first manager to lead the club to the league and FA Cup double.

West Ham made contact with Ancelotti before they hired Slaven Bilic and with the Croatian in the final year of his contract and under pressure, the Hammers could make a move for him once again.

Arsenal would be an ideal club for him but, with Arsene Wenger having only just gone into another two-year contract, things would have to turn sour for the Gunners to make a change.

Irish Independent

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