Blue is the colour: Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti
Dear Ancelotti, can we still call you Carletto, or should we now call you Carlo II, king of England? Ancelotti: Steady, boy, here in London you do not joke with the Crown!
May we at least say that you've become Sir Alex Ferguson's bogeyman? Ancelotti: I've won a few against him, recently it was 1-0, but from a footballing point of view this was not much of a game. Moreover, we did not even manage to see each other at the end for the toast, which is a clever peculiarity of English football. It helps to cool down tensions and cement relationships.
Is it wrong to state that Manchester United have suffered since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo? Ancelotti: The numbers do not confirm this. United were two points behind Chelsea before our face-to- face; they have done well in the Champions League. Valencia, his (Ronaldo's) replacement, has great qualities and is starting to click with the well-oiled machine that is United. The only real disappointment (of the season) is Liverpool.
When you have to tell your players off, do you still revert to Italian? Ancelotti: The first time yes, but in the latest instance I tried to do it in English, and I passed the test. They got the message instantly, you couldn't hear a fly flying.
What's your relationship with Abramovich? Ancelotti: It's excellent, because he's a real football enthusiast. He keeps a close eye on the situation, sees a lot of matches on TV, knows the players and also comes to our training sessions.
Looking good: Carlo Ancelotti celebrates Florent Malouda's goal against Stoke City
Do you know they (the Italian press) are listing you with the possible successors to Marcello Lippi (as Italy coach) after next year's World Cup? Ancelotti: It's wrong (a non-starter). I'm quite happy here in London, I have a three-year contract, I like everything here, the club, the fans, English football. Not to speak of the results, so far they are not that bad: I've won 10 out of 12 in the league, three out of four in the Champions League, it's an awesome progression. I do not have the slightest problem, not even with the food.
How can you manage without 'culatello' (a prime cut of Italian ham)? Ancelotti: Simple, I've allowed English cuisine to bewitch me, particularly with its breakfast. I've become a fan of bacon, and if sausages appear on the plate I'm not one to say no to them. I haven't changed a single item in the international menu of Chelsea. Hear this: on Saturdays they prepare for me lasagne bolognese. I haven't changed anything in their habits, on purpose.
Not even on the pitch? Ancelotti: I've gone for the very same fitness routine introduced by Guus Hiddink, without the slightest change. It's a routine that has drastically reduced the number of injuries over the last season. I've only increased the tactical training sessions, something the English are usually allergic to.
In Naples the magistrates of the 'Calciopoli' trial (the 2006 match-fixing scandal implicating officials of Ancelotti's former club, Milan, and Juventus) are still waiting for you to appear as a witness. Ancelotti: I've written to them to explain why I have missed the call, and I have stressed that I'm ready to give my testimony. The problem is to find the right date. The first summons was for the same day as the Chelsea game with Bolton. Impossible for me to go to Naples on that day.
FIFA have suspended Chelsea's transfer market ban. Ancelotti: If there are no injuries we are determined not to change the composition of the squad. There are two strikers going to the Africa Cup of Nations, Drogba and Kalou. But right behind them we have two boys with a great future, Sturridge and Borini. Borini (left) is a very, very, very interesting 19-year-old from Bologna.
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