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Exclusive: AC Milan hero Donati says 'empathy' behind success of Everton manager Ancelotti

'Empathy' is the key behind Carlo Ancelotti's success as a manager.

That is according to former AC Milan midfielder Massimo Donati. Ancelotti enjoyed a hugely successful playing career with Parma, Roma and AC Milan.

Across 16 seasons in Italy, the industrious midfielder won three Serie A titles and two Champions Leagues. After retirement, the Italian took his first coaching with Reggiana and never looked back.

Upon his return to San Siro in 2001, Ancelotti helped Milan win one Serie A title and two Champions League crowns.

Since then, Ancelotti has won trophies all over Europe with the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and PSG.

The 61-year-old is now working his magic at Everton as they are challenging for a top-four place this season.

The Toffees might not have the most talented team in the league, but Ancelotti has them sitting two points off fourth with a game in hand.

Donati failed to break into Ancelotti's team during his time at AC Milan but has nothing but respect for his former coach.

And the former Italy U21 international is not surprised by Ancelotti's recent success in England.

"The period at Milan for me is divided into 2 phases: the first with (Fatih) Terim, the second with Ancelotti," Donati tells when reflecting on his six season stint with the Rossoneri.

"With the first it was positive because he believed in me a lot and gave me several opportunities to show off. Ancelotti instead relied on more experienced players because the period was not the best in terms of results and therefore he preferred to play it safe.

"I have a very good memory of Ancelotti as a coach because he was and is really good in managing the group. I think not much has changed since then and the way of training is based above all on the aspect of empathy.

"The fact that he went working in England again does not surprise me at all because he experiences football in a different way, in some ways better."

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Matteo Vitale
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