Carlo Ancelotti says he learned how ‘the club has to work for the manager’ at Juventus and that Zinedine Zidane ‘changed my idea about football’.
Ancelotti managed Juve between 1999 and 2001 with little success, but his tenure was notable as he had Zidane at his disposal and it acted as a springboard to two Champions Leagues with Milan.
The Frenchman would later assist his mentor at Real Madrid, before eventually replacing him as their coach.
“With Zidane, I tried to change my idea about the system,” the Everton boss told Sky Sports.
“Zidane is the first player who gave me the possibility to change the system and play in a different way.
“So when I had Zidane, in the first year at Juventus, I played with a system of 3-4-1-2, having [Alessandro] Del Piero and [Filippo] Inzaghi up front and Zidane a little bit behind.
“The second year, I played with a back four but keeping two strikers in front and one No 10 like Zidane.
“Zidane changed my idea about football, I was so focused before Juventus on 4-4-2 and after with Zidane, I changed, I wanted to put him in the best position for him to let him be more comfortable on the pitch.
“In my playing career, I had [Nils] Liedholm [at Roma] who was one of the first managers who played the zone, but it was not 4-4-2, it was back four but in midfield, we didn’t have a specific position.
“Then after that, I had [Sven-Goran] Eriksson in Rome and he played 4-4-2 and [Arrigo] Sacchi in Milan, so I started training and having the idea to play 4-4-2.
“And this idea changed after Parma when I had Zidane, I wanted to have him in a comfortable position for him.
“The experience at Juventus was good in my opinion because I understood really well how the club has to work for the manager [coach] so the club gave to me a lot of support in this.
“It doesn’t matter if they fired me at the end of the second year, until the last day in Juventus, I understood how the club has to work for the manager, to support them, to help them in front of the players, to give the manager the power that he needs to manage the players.”
That insistence on a 4-4-2 caused a certain Italy international to quit Parma in January 1997 and become a Chelsea icon…
“Parma was the first top professional team that I managed and I had [Gianfranco] Zola in that period.
“At the beginning, I was playing 4-4-2, I was not playing with a No10 in that period so in the first game of the seaso I tried to put him [Zola] on the right side like a winger.
“He didn’t like it a lot, he did well in my opinion, but he would like to play in the middle. So having [Hernan] Crespo and [Enrico] Chiesa in front, I found space for him on the right side, but he was not so happy.
“At the same time, he had an opportunity to go to Chelsea and in the January market, he chose to go there and I let him to go.”
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