At 33, Ancelotti had just retired as a player and become assistant to Arrigo Sacchi with the Italian national team. Together they guided Italy to the final of the 1994 World Cup.
"Sacchi made me his assistant because he thought I was good tactically, I think," he told the Daily Mail. "And from our days together at Milan he knew me as a character, as a player, as a man. I was still playing when he took charge. It was November 1991 and we were playing Norway. In the first training session he said, “I want you to coach the midfielders”. I had to ask him if I was still a player. I was. I started.
"I stayed with Italy until I was 36. Then I went to manage Reggiana. After six games I was almost sacked. We’d lost four and drawn two. I only survived because of my name. But that season we went on to win the second division championship.
"Like I say, though, Villas-Boas has good knowledge and that is what you need. Good knowledge and an ability to build a relationship with the players. And an ability to make them feel a sense of pride in the shirt they are wearing. You see that at Manchester United and at Barcelona. You see the Manchester United shirt gives players more power.
"That is the way I like to manage. I do not use a whip. I never have. I treat players like adults.
"Nils Liedholm taught me that. He was a funny guy. If you asked him to name the best players of all time, he would say, 'Me, Pele, De Stefano'. I loved that about him. But he was an inspiration and never once did I ever hear him shout at a player."