Reports of the players being in open revolt at Napoli have been greatly exaggerated. That was manager Carlo Ancelotti’s message when the club lifted their media blackout and he spoke to the press ahead of today’s match against Liverpool.
“The club know it has to do better,” Ancelotti said. “The same with the team, the coach too. We’re all in this together and want to get a result. I can assure you that there’s perfect harmony here. It’s for this reason that I’ve never thought about resigning.
“During my 30-year career, I’ve never not had the confidence of my club and my players. It’s the same now. Our form has fluctuated and we can’t hide from that. We have to do much better. We have regrets, but we’re also ready to improve.
“There are always delicate moments, and this is one of them, but we’ll come out of it by sticking together. Despite all the talk, there’s unity of purpose between the team, club, and coach, and we’ll come out of this.”
Liverpool will be hoping that Napoli aren’t quite as together as Ancelotti claims, and that they remain in turmoil for at least a little while longer—long enough for the Reds to wrap up their place in the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
If they can do that with a win tonight, it will make their final group stage game meaningless and allow Jürgen Klopp to rest and rotate his players in the midst of a troublingly busy December that sees them set to play nine games.
Napoli, though, are never an easy opponent, and if Ancelotti isn’t simply spinning a positive story and they have instead been galvanized as a team by their recent struggles both on and off the pitch, it will be very, very difficult for the Reds tonight.
“What happened has happened,” the Napoli manager added. “Now we are concentrating on the present. The media silence helped us concentrate on the pitch but has also stopped giving air time to those who have talked nonsense.”