Napoli appoint Gennaro Gattuso as head coach after sacking Carlo Ancelotti

Ed Aarons and agencies
<span>Photograph: SSC Napoli/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: SSC Napoli/Getty Images

Napoli have appointed Gennaro Gattuso as their new head coach, after Carlo Ancelotti was sacked on Tuesday evening despite leading the club to the Champions League last 16.

The 41-year-old led Milan to fifth place in Serie A last season, but departed in the summer with two years still to run on his contract. Gattuso spent 13 seasons with Milan as a player – several of them under Ancelotti.

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“[Carlo] is like a father to me. He’s always been close to me and supported me,” Gattuso said at his unveiling. “He’s won it all and I still have a lot to prove.” Turning to the task at hand, Gattuso said Napoli’s current position – seventh in the league, and eight points off fourth place, is “embarrassing.”

This team has what it takes to finish in the top four. We need to work hard, win back points and come through this tricky period,” Gattuso added. “I’m at a big club with a great president … I fear nothing. I’m going to be working with experienced people. I hope to get results.”

The Napoli owner, Aurelio De Laurentiis, also offered words of support for Ancelotti. “I remain his friend, I was before and I still am now. I am sorry that things have gone like this. We have cultivated a dream but suddenly awakened. It was better that everyone went their own way.”

Napoli’s 4-0 win over Genk secured second place in Group E and ended a nine-game winless run in all competitions, but it was not enough to save Ancelotti’s job. A statement on Twitter confirmed his departure soon after the final whistle.

Related: Liverpool reach last 16 after Naby Keïta and Mo Salah douse Salzburg’s fire

“Napoli has decided to revoke the role of technical manager of the first team from Mr Carlo Ancelotti,” the statement said. “The relations of friendship, esteem and mutual respect between the company, its president Aurelio De Laurentiis and Carlo Ancelotti remain intact.”

Ancelotti has been linked with the vacancies at Arsenal and Everton in recent days. Gattuso’s reign begins with a home game against Parma on Saturday, before a trip to Sassuolo on 22 December.

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