Coach Ancelotti still tight-lipped on PSG future
SAINT-GERMAIN-EN-LAYE, France (AP)
Carlo Ancelotti has yet to decide whether he will stay on as Paris Saint-Germain coach - or even when to announce his decision - and is set to discuss his future with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi on Sunday.
They were due to have talks on Friday but those were put back so that Ancelotti can focus on Saturday's home match with Brest, following a week of celebrating the team's French league title.
''This week was a week for success and we want to talk about other things,'' Ancelotti said at a news conference Friday. ''I haven't thought about it because I've been very busy with the celebrations.''
Ancelotti was evasive when asked if he would announce his decision before the end of the current campaign, with PSG's last game away to Lorient on May 26.
''I don't know yet. After?'' he said, smiling. ''We had a good season. We managed to win the title. I want to thank everyone.''
The Italian coach led PSG to its first title since 1994 and to the quarterfinals of the Champions League. But the club's form has been patchy at times, with two quarterfinal defeats in the domestic cup competitions, and Ancelotti has criticized the attitude of his players several times.
He has been linked with a move to Real Madrid next season, with Jose Mourinho expected to leave, and earlier this week Al-Khelaifi said he had rebuffed an approach from Madrid's sporting director, and also spoke enthusiastically about keeping Ancelotti at the club.
''I can stay, that's not the question,'' said Ancelotti, playing down speculation linking him to Madrid. ''But I want to speak to the club first and then take a decision. ... It depends on me.''
Ancelotti refused to directly answer whether he was flattered to be linked to the Spanish giant.
''I am honored of the job I (have) here. This is normal,'' he said. ''I don't speak about Real Madrid. Why do you have to speak about Real Madrid? I never spoke with Madrid. I think the journalists speak about me.''
When asked what players he would like to sign next season - PSG has recently been linked in the English media with a move for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, after he put in a transfer request - Ancelotti continued to be evasive.
''I don't want to talk about players of the future, for now,'' he said. ''I want to thank the players I have now.''
Ancelotti reflected on his first full season in charge of PSG. He joined midway through last season, replacing Antoine Kombouare, and finished in second place behind Montpellier - which was three points behind PSG at the winter break.
''The objective was clear: to win the league, to be competitive in the Champions League, and I think we did a good job,'' he said. ''The defeat in the quarterfinal of the French Cup was not good.''
Many of PSG's players have publicly backed Ancelotti, who is a popular figure within the club, and have asked him to stay.
''He hasn't told us yet, he has his future to take care of. We will adapt to the situation,'' PSG right back Christophe Jallet said Friday. ''Of course we all want him to stay. If you did a survey, 99.9 percent of us would want him to stay.''
Meanwhile, Jallet expressed his regret at how Monday's trophy celebrations at the Trocadero plaza turned violent, with the festivities marred by clashes between fans and police that led to dozens of injuries and arrests and dealt a massive blow to the club's image abroad.
''Of course we were disappointed. That's a black spot,'' Jallet said. ''Those images were a bit like a war. I think tomorrow it will be a good celebration.''
The Trocadero was chosen because of its proximity to the Eiffel Tower, offering a picture-perfect backdrop. But the images shown around the world were of bottles and stones flying through the air and baton-wielding riot police exchanging blows with rioting fans.
Ancelotti also spoke of his consternation at witnessing the violent scenes.
''It can't be possible for a party to end this way, with lots of fighting with police,'' he said. ''I hope something changes in the culture of football. Football is a party, a laugh, not smashing up cars. In one and a half years we haven't had a problem at Parc des Princes. There's been no violence in the stadium, so what happened at the Trocadero was something else.''