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An interview with Carlo Ancelotti (

1 Nov 2005 - Source:

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46-year-old Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti will not make many changes to the team that beat rivals Juventus 3-1 last Saturday. "PSV are not going to play a defensive game and we may benefit", said Ancelotti ahead of the crucial UEFA Champions League group E return leg in Eindhoven on Tuesday night. Poor start to the seasonA poor start to the season, the record that rivals Juventus have set and, most of all, the devastating blow delivered by Liverpool last May from which AC Milan have not yet recovered resulted into speculations on an early exit of coach Ancelotti. Milan were said to play football at a low pace, they were alleged to be uninspired, their defenders were veterans and not all football pundits appreciated the advantages of a rotation system.But after Saturday night things suddenly look much brighter. The gap with ‘the old lady’ of Turin has been reduced to only two points. And the Milanese must have received a tremendous boost by their spirited performance.ResponsibilityAncelotti was relieved: "We have been working hard to improve and as we have shown progress from a mental point of view we have been able to play in a more determined way. The win over Juve has been morale-boosting. We should try to play our own style, when we face PSV, for this is very tight group and a victory could make all the difference. I would love to see my players play with the same characteristics and passion as on Saturday night.” The rossoneri played a nasty game in a fair way and Gattuso was the ball winner in midfield. "The lads took their responsibility last Saturday. I hope they can put on another performance like that on Tuesday night, but I know it won’t be easy." Ball circulationThe AC Milan coach analyses the differences with last season and reviews the recent draw at San Siro. "Compared to last season’s semi finals we now do not need to defend a first leg lead." Ancelotti is convinced that PSV will have a different match plan for their home game. "I expect PSV will show more aggression, try to have more possession of the ball and control the game. So it’s up to us to be in control. We must take our chances by a quick ball circulation. We will be given more space. If we carry on playing like we did in Milan, we can clinch all three points,”GomesAncelotti paid tribute to his side ('the best performance so far this season') after the game at home against PSV. "We had twenty-five shots on target. Gomes was outstanding and has saved PSV. We controlled the entire game but we were unable to cope with one problem: how to score the opening goal. Obviously I would welcome a win, but sometimes you have to settle for a draw, even if your team puts up a fine display.” And he adds: “This is a tight group and we only meet quality opponents. We lead our group by one point from Fenerbahçe and we are two points ahead of PSV. A win in Eindhoven would be marvelous. If we draw in Eindhoven, PSV will also drop two precious points”, is his philosophical-like response. FutureA win over PSV will silence Ancelotti’s critics. Owner Berlusconi and Vice President Galliani are interested in Marco van Basten, whom they consider to be the ideal successor of Ancelotti. The current coach took things in a light-hearted spirit when he was interviewed by a local radio broadcasting programme. "I hardly ever think of such issues. I don’t think I will be coach at Milan for the rest of my life, even if I wanted to. It is only a matter of course that future issues are discussed at such a big club. Many players of the Milan team that I made appearance for have become coaches. Just think of Rijkaard, Van Basten and Tassotti. But I am afraid they will have to bear with me for the time being!”ShevchenkoAncelotti has one major doubt: will Shevchenko be available? Ancelotti has already pointed out to the Italian media that Vieri is his first choice striker. Shevchenko himself has announced he would love to start, if the pain in his heel has diminished. "I am willing to grin and bear it for the sake of AC Milan." The Ukrainian can hardly wait to find the net during the PSV tie, following the goals he scored against Schalke and Fenerbahçe "Things are getting better, but I haven’t trained outside on the pitch yet. I will have to wait for some more days, if I suffer a setback or if my heel is too painful.” Ancelotti may then partner Gilardino or Inzaghi with Vieri up front.