Carlo Ancelotti on coaching: It's the intricacies that count

Tuesday 15 Apr 2014
Carlo Ancelotti spoke to The Boot Room

Real Madrid head coach, Carlo Ancelotti, has urged aspiring English coaches and managers to study the intricacies of the management profession if they want to have a successful career in the industry.

The former Chelsea and Paris St Germain boss recorded an exclusive interview for the 21 candidates on this year’s FA UEFA Pro Licence course insisting the transition from pitch to the technical area must be thoroughly prepared for.

The Boot Room

Our full interview with Carlo Ancelotti is available in April’s edition of The Boot Room, The FA Licensed Coaches’ Club magazine


He said: “Don’t think your experience as a player is enough to be a manager. It is enough to have a relationship with the players and to understand the player and what they need, but for the other parts you have to learn and you have to study.”

The 54 year-old Italian, whose  glittering coaching CV also includes spells at Parma, Juventus and AC Milan, stressed the importance of his own period of study as one of the reasons for his longevity in the coaching profession.

“The stage that I had in Italy doing my coaching licence was really good – to learn about physical preparation, to learn about tactics.

“Also, the last year that I played in AC Milan I had the opportunity to be the assistant manager of Arrigo Sacchi in the national team. I could have continued to play but I preferred to stop because I thought the experience with Sacchi was really good for me.

“I was with Sacchi for three years as the assistant coach of the national team. That period was really important for me to grow as a manager. After those three years I went for the first time to be the head coach of a second division team, Reggiana.”


Roberto Baggio worked with Carlo Ancelotti at Parma


The Real Madrid supremo, whose side are chasing a domestic double and progressed into the Champions League Semi-Finals last week, also warned aspiring coaches not to be too rigid in their thinking early in their management career.

“When I was at Parma I had the opportunity to buy Roberto Baggio who liked to play as an offensive midfielder behind the striker. I said to him ‘I want you to play striker because I don’t want to change the system’. It was a mistake because Baggio was a great player and I needed to find a position for him.

“As a manager you must know the characteristics of the players and build a system where the players are comfortable. I cannot think that Ronaldo has to work in the same way as Angel di Maria or Luka Modric or Sergio Ramos – they have different characteristics.”

Understanding different personalities is a core principle in the Italian’s coaching methodology and Madrid’s affable coach believes that developing this understanding is a result of spending time on the training pitch speaking and engaging with the players as individuals.

“My style is to give the players the best opportunity to be comfortable. That doesn’t mean I don’t like discipline and rules. I like the rules, the discipline and the professionalism but I like to have a relationship at the same level with the players. I like to speak with them.”

Our full interview with Carlo Ancelotti is available in April’s edition of The Boot Room, The FA Licensed Coaches’ Club magazine.

April’s edition includes an insight into life behind the scenes at the Spanish club as well as interviews with England women’s new head coach, Mark Sampson, and England Rugby’s World Cup winning head coach, Clive Woodward. There is also a dedicated grassroots coaching section on how to run your own World Cup tournament.

To subscribe to The Boot Room magazine join The FA Licensed Coaches’ Club today at or get the digital version here 

By Peter Glynn FA Education Content Editor in Madrid