Carlo Ancelotti insisted Mikel Arteta’s lack of managerial experience will not prove a problem for Arsenal – because the schooling he got from Pep Guardiola matters much more.
The rookie Arteta is the youngest manager in the Premier League and Sunday faces the triple Champions League winner Ancelotti, who has spent two decades in charge of some of the world’s biggest clubs.
But the Everton manager feels his own time in the dugout for Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich is far less important than the knowledge he has gained along the way.
Like Arteta now, Ancelotti was fast-tracked to the top as a young manager. The Spaniard was appointed by Arsenal at 37, the same age Ancelotti was when he took charge of a star-studded Parma team, including Gianfranco Zola, Hernan Crespo, Fabio Cannavaro and Lilian Thuram.
Ancelotti then got the Juventus job at just 39, meaning he coached France’s World Cup winners Zinedine Zidane and Didier Deschamps, plus Edgar Davids and Alessandro del Piero, before he had won any silverware as a manager.
And Ancelotti believes Arteta’s youth is not an issue. Whereas none of his players remember watching the Italian in his playing days, he feels Arteta’s time as a midfielder for Everton and Arsenal will count in his favour.
Ancelotti said: ‘The only thing that you miss is experience. I think that he has a lot of respect from the players for what he did as a player. When you start you don’t have experience but everyone in the world that starts has no experience. Experience is not so important. Every one of us has experience of what we are doing. Experience is natural.’
Arteta learnt his trade in three years as Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City just as Ancelotti’s education came from one of the most influential managers of an earlier generation.
He played in Arrigo Sacchi’s 1989 and 1990 European Cup-winning AC Milan teams and went on to work as an assistant manager under his mentor when Italy reached the 1994 World Cup final.
And Ancelotti added: ‘I prefer to have knowledge instead of [just] experience. It is more important to have knowledge and the fact that Arteta did his study with a fantastic manager like Guardiola, I think he has a lot of knowledge.’
He feels Arteta’s background as a top-level player will help him more in terms of man-management than tactically.
He explained: ‘To be a manager it is helpful if you had experience as a player in the relationship with the players. But what you see on the pitch [as a footballer] is different to what you see on the bench.’
Ancelotti hopes to draw a lesson from his past by having a core of players who identify with Everton and feels it is a key to glory.
He added: ‘Some of the most important teams in the history of football, like Barcelona and Milan, built their success on having some players with a really strong sense of belonging. I believe in this. It is better to work for your family rather than a company.’