Former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, in town for Cristiano Ronaldo's big movie premiere, sat down with the Daily Mail for an exclusive interview yesterday. Ancelotti is one of the more universally well-liked and well-respected managers working in world football, and he's not shy about revealing a few interesting details.
Such as, getting completely passed over for the Liverpool job.
"I would like to come back to work in England. I love the football here, I still have a house in London, and I would like to be with a team that is competitive in England and in Europe."
"I think Liverpool are a good team. They have some really good young players — Coutinho, Firmino, Benteke. If they can find an experienced player like Gerrard or Carragher — an example to the squad — I think they can be really competitive. But I did not speak with them. If I [or my advisors] spoke with them I can say "yes", but no, I did not."
"They made the right appointment in Klopp. He is a good manager. With the best managers you see their identity in their team. Klopp's Dortmund team had a very strong identity."
And getting the sack at Real Madrid, which hurt even more than his famous and rather unceremonious sacking in the tunnel at Goodison Park by Chelsea.
"To be sacked is part of your job but if you ask me about being sacked by Real Madrid I tell you that it was not right. I was really, really unhappy because I had a fantastic relationship with the players. I really enjoyed training this team. They were really serious, really professional. More than Chelsea I was disappointed."
It would appear that our former manager does not actually hold a grudge like many in the media have reported, and wouldn't mind coming back one day if the opportunity arose. But, he claims, there's no opportunity at the present, despite Mourinho's ridiculously ridiculous bad moment™ this season.
"I would have no problem with Chelsea. But Jose won't be sacked. They already choose to keep him, and I think they made a good choice."
Based on his observations, Ancelotti thinks our struggles are mostly down to motivation.
"Sometimes you can't explain why things happen... what is going wrong. It is a mystery. How did we lose (with AC Milan) in Istanbul when we were three goals up against Liverpool at half-time? You expect the opponent manager to put on a striker but he puts on a midfielder!"
"I look from a distance at Chelsea and I think they won the title easily last year and I don't think they are so motivated this year. It's true that the manager has to be able to motivate players but the manager cannot motivate a player if the player is not self-motivated. It's impossible. They have lost something and it's difficult to change like a switch. You have to work slowly to change."
"But Mourinho is one of the best managers in the world, no doubt. I look at his body language and he's OK. He is not so worried. He has confidence. During the Dynamo Kiev game the supporters were singing his name. He'll sort it out."
Uncle Carlo goes on to talk about his own management style ("I never use the whip"), about that one time he did let his frustrations get the better of him and he ended up kicking a box at Zlatan Ibrahimović's head, and about not returning to management until the summer, at the soonest, and preferably as a permanent manager at a club with a chance at European glory. It is, not unexpectedly, given that it's Ancelotti, a very nice interview overall, and well worth your time.