Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed he was sent off in Napoli’s 0-0 draw with AC Milan for swearing, but insists he did not direct his curse at the referee.
The 59-year-old was dismissed from the dugout in second-half injury time, shortly after Fabian Ruiz had received a harsh second yellow card for handball.
Napoli posted a picture of Ruiz’s leg on Twitter after the goalless draw at San Siro showing where the player had been struck by the ball on the leg, along with the caption: “This is the handball from Fabian Ruiz that caused the second yellow.”
Ancelotti admitted to swearing when reacting to the incident, but he remains somewhat bemused as to why it warranted him being sent from the sidelines.
“I said a swear word, although it wasn’t aimed at the referee,” he told DAZN. “I’m not even sure it’s still considered swearing!”
— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) January 26, 2019
Chances were scarce in the match, with Piotr Zielinski missing Napoli’s clearest opening and David Ospina making a fine save to deny Mateo Musacchio at the other end.
Ancelotti was frustrated with his side’s lack of control, but he does not consider the title race to be beyond his side now, even though Juventus will go 11 points clear if they beat Lazio on Sunday.
“It’s still very open. We have to do our own job and there are lots of matches left,” he said.
“I expected Milan to have a defensive approach, as they use lines of five and it’s difficult to overcome that. We unfortunately made it easier for them with a sluggish tempo.
“We didn’t manage a good transition and we allowed them too many counterattacks. We were obviously unbalanced. We didn’t control the game.”
Ancelotti reserved praise for the Milan supporters after the match, which was Napoli’s first at San Siro since Kalidou Kouliably suffered racist abuse in the 1-0 loss to Inter on December 26.
“It’s a totally different atmosphere and this is what we want to see in the stands. I applaud all the supporters,” he said.
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