Ancelotti confident that Milan can leapfrog Fiorentina

Updated: 2008-02-12 07:52

ROME: Wednesday could prove a crucial point in the season for European champions AC Milan when they play Livorno at the San Siro.

Should they win, they will overtake Fiorentina in fourth place in Serie A and appear in the Champions League qualifying positions for the first time this season.

Currently Milan trail the viola by two points, but they are enjoying the better form and coach Carlo Ancelotti feels that such is his teams' mindset, that it will continue in midweek.

They have one or two injury doubts, but overall the coach is happy with his teams' state of health after the 1-0 win over Siena at the weekend which was secured with a strike from 18-year-old Alberto Paloschi.

"I took off Alessandro Nesta because he banged his shin and will skip Wednesday's match. Ronaldo took a bang on the knee, but (Alberto) Gilardino, (Gennaro) Gattuso and (Kahka) Kaladze will return against Livorno," said Ancelotti.

One player he is unlikely to replace in the side is goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac, whose form has helped Milan rise up the table and shake of the memories of their inability to win at home before Christmas.

"Kalac made another decisive save (against Siena), after those against Fiorentina. It seems to me that he is drawing strength and confidence from his performances," Ancelotti said.

On Sunday, Juventus will welcome Roma hoping to put further pressure on the giallorossi in second place.

Juve trail last season's runners-up by four points, but feel they can do better than they did in Rome, where they drew 2-2 earlier in the season.

Mauro Camoranesi has recovered something approaching his best form, but knows that the team have to keep their minds on the league and not get carried away by talk of the Champions League.

"I'm very happy. My power is back. Unfortunately this season I've been a bit unlucky. Now we need to think about the league and then the Champions League will come," he said.

Roma, who recovered from their 3-0 loss to Siena last week with a 2-0 home win over Reggina, will be missing Brazilian defender Juan, but coach Luciano Spalletti feels that they have the characteristics to hold onto second place.

"We have personality and and quality, but we have to be aware of our position," he said.

The coach also played down fears that Italy under-21 midefielder, Alberto Aquilani, who was recently linked with a move to Inter Milan, would be moving north when the season ends.

Spalletti said: "He is a good footballer and will become a great player. We have to talk again, all of us, I'm certain that we have a good rapport with Aquilani, but the player's wishes will make the difference."

AFP

(China Daily 02/12/2008 page12)