PARIS (AFP) – As Carlo Ancelotti approaches the completion of one year in charge of Paris Saint Germain, the Italian’s position appears to be on stronger foundations after guiding the club back to the top of Ligue One, just weeks after rumours circulated that he was on the way out.
The 53-year-old former Juventus, AC Milan and Chelsea handler is far from certain of remaining in the Parc des Princes hotseat next season and will not take heart from the fact that his predecessor, Antoine Kombouare, was shown the door last winter when the team were also top of the pile in France.
The Qatari-backed club are impatient to see immediate success after buying the capital outfit 18 months ago and investing millions to put PSG shirts on the backs of Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, amongst others.
A 1-0 victory over seven-time champions Lyon on Sunday, returned PSG to the summit albeit on goal difference and a win at home over Brest on Friday will send them into the winter break as half-term champions.
“We lost at Nice but since that game, a lot of things have changed,” said Ancelotti, in regards to their four-game winning streak that included topping their Champions League pool which guarantees a more favourable draw on Thursday for February’s knockout stages.
“We have to be more solid and more consistent but we have a team that can do something this season,” he added.
“Football has shown how strange it can be, because noone thought we would be on top of the league right now.
“However while it is important to be on top right now, it is more important to be on top at the end of the season.”
While Ancelotti has already built a hugely successful career and is one of a select group to have won the Champions League both as a player and manager, his list of honours count for nothing, with owners who are reportedly interested in Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola or Arsene Wenger to take the team forward.
“I haven’t read the papers,” said Ancelotti following the Nice defeat that put both his and sporting director Leonardo’s jobs’ in jeopardy.
It was the Brazilian, a close friend, who initially brought in Ancelotti to replace Kombouare on December 30, 2011.
Results in recent weeks have given Ancelotti a stay of execution but winning the title for the first time since 1994 is almost mandatory and a run deep into the later stages of the Champions League is also expected for a return on the millions invested by club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
“I think the title will be decided between the three teams currently on top and I think the French championship is going to be very interesting over the next months”.
Interesting for the neutrals, but decisive for the future of Paris Saint-Germain and Ancelotti who must put silverware back in the club’s trophy cabinet or face the wrath of his success driven owners.