Friday, 30 December 2016

Ancelotti on English football's DNA

(From Quiet Leadership, by Carlo Ancelotti):

"In England there is much more aggression and less obsession with possession. English teams and players have a strong fighting mentality.

If I had to go to war, I would go with the English, not with the Italians or the French. It is absolutely essential to understand the culture, which is macho like the South Americans, but in a quiet, understated way.

Didier Drogba, for example, did not understand, when he first joined Chelsea and was guilty of simulation and exaggerating injuries on the pitch, that a big man simulating injury is not seen as manly in England - it goes against the notion of fair play, and this is a cultural thing.

It is different in Spain. John Terry spoke with him and he changed, going on to score lots of goals and become a club legend. Sometimes it is better for this conversation to come from the dressing room leader and not the boss.

That player can become de facto manager for this moment, in the sense that it's more effective when such advice comes from his teammates, peer to peer."

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Steve Evans: I still talk to Cellino on a regular basis

In his own words:

RELATIONSHIP WITH CELLINO

I asked Sir Alex Ferguson for advice when I was offered the Rotherham job and he said ‘pick it by the chairman.’

That's something I followed and I'm still on great terms with the Rotherham owner. Now, I’m not sure what Sir Alex would have made of Massimo Cellino. To be honest I didn’t need to ask him, because it’s impossible to say no to a club like Leeds United.

I’m not like two or three of Mr Cellino's other managers, because I found my relationship with him was absolutely first class. We still speak on a regular basis, more about personal stuff, like our families.

His knowledge is very impressive. For example when we were going to play Reading, he knew about their central midfield. When we played QPR, he knew about their centre halves. I’d be mad to ignore what he said.

You filter it and make your own decisions though. I’ll be honest, because I don’t work for the club any more - I enjoyed his company and I enjoyed working for him. That might not be fashionable, but he’s up front.

He never told me who to pick. He’d give opinions - and people are na├»ve if they think owners don’t give opinions - but you take it on board and make your own decision.

Weak managers are the ones who go with it. He’s very knowledgeable, passionate, and speaks from the heart. But I never had a problem with him.

WEIGHT LOSS

The weight loss was something I undertook myself, just before Christmas last year. I've lost about four and half stone all in all.

Living away from my family and eating late was taking a toll. I was going to watch games three or four days a week and my health was not the best. I made a conscious effort to change that.

I've heard people say it was Mr Cellino who told me to lose the weight, which is quite funny really. We used to go for dinner a few times every week. I’d only have soup and he’d be saying ‘Steve, Steve, come on, have some pasta.’

But he treated me with respect from the moment I walked in the door. It takes a long time to change people’s perceptions of you. I have not been the subject of a referee’s report for a long time. I try and ask questions in a different, more dignified manner.

It will continue here at Mansfield Town. I don’t want to lose that passion and enthusiasm, but it’s about channelling it in the right way.

GARRY MONK:

Mr Cellino and the other board members wanted someone with Premier League experience. That was hard to take, but I don’t think they could have made a better choice than Garry.

I think he had a wonderful base to build on and has done fantastically well. He's gone in and done a great job. There were issues that had to be dealt with – certainly some of the players had to go.

A dressing room needs to be together. When I sat down with Mr Cellino and discussed this season, I put names down that had to go. And he didn’t disagree with them. You can work out who they are for yourself.

It was a pretty difficult situation to manage last season. Sir Alex always told me ‘control the controllables – only spend time on the situations you can effect.’ So I had to manage it as well as I could, and wait for the opportunity to ship them out. Now Gary has done that.

After that it was about getting three or four players in who could make it much better. Garry has certainly done that. Bartley – who we tried to get - has been superb.

Bridcutt, who I had on loan, is a fantastic professional. Big Chris Wood has really hit his stride. He has that desire.

AFTER LEEDS:

I could have gone into Championship within two weeks of going out at Leeds, but they weren't the right jobs. Mr Cellino endorsed me for one particular role I was offered.

I'd only ever taken one week off in a summer period before. On this occasion I used the time to watch other managers in other countries and feel fresh and invigorated.

LOOKING OUT FOR LEEDS:

I felt very proud to be manager of Leeds United and I did my very best to represent it in a fitting manner. I was following on from some great men, like Sir Don Revie and Howard Wilkinson - what a privilege.

I look out for Leeds’ results and I’d love to go back to Elland Road to cheer them on as a fan. That place gets in your heart.

Half the fans were probably against me when I was appointed – maybe I’m being generous to myself there - but I’d like to think I won a fair few of them over by the end. I've become a fan.

The club will always be in my heart. The fans get you that way, it's a very unique football club. We were 19th and a point off the relegation zone when I took over. By the time I went, we were 13th, and looked like we might make the play offs for a while.

People will probably say ‘he’s gone to Mansfield Town, that makes him less ambitious.’ But I wanted to begin something with a real focus about it. People might say he’s gone to League Two, he’s lost his ambition, but nothing could be further from the truth.