Ancelotti: Derby crucial for AC Milan

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti acknowledged that tomorrow's derby against Inter Milan was more important for his team than Jose Mourinho's. Milan trail Inter by eight points in Serie A and are currently sitting third in the table with 15 matches still to play. Defeat would almost certainly end Milan's interest in the title, while a draw would also suit Inter more than Milan.

"It will be an important match for us and, above all, a key match in terms of the championship because for Inter the result is not as important as it is for us," said Ancelotti. "We're playing well and we're in good form at the moment and I'm convinced that we can match the result we earned in the first half of the season."

Milan won 1-0 back in September in what was nominally a home match for both sides in the San Siro stadium they share, as Ronaldinho scored a rare header to settle things. Despite having spent considerable time on the bench recently, he may well start the match, as Kaka almost certainly will not have recovered from a foot problem he acquired last weekend in the dreadful 1-1 home draw with rock-bottom Reggina. Although Ancelotti believes his team are playing well, he is worried about Inter's power from dead balls.

"Inter have won many games from set-pieces. They have many players who are good in the air," he said. "My defensive choices will be solely based on the physical attributes of the players at my disposal."

As far as I'm concerned there's zero chance this will be my last derby against Inter... Right now the priority is the derby.
AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti

While Ancelotti added that he hoped this would not be David Beckham's last derby in a Milan shirt, as it will be for 40-year-old defender Paolo Maldini, the coach insisted it definitely would not be his last. Ancelotti has been the subject of reported interest from both Real Madrid and Chelsea and some within the local press are convinced that he will leave Milan at the end of the season.

"As far as I'm concerned, there's zero chance this will be my last derby against Inter," he said defiantly. "I still have a year and three months left on my contract, which leaves plenty of time to renew it. Right now the priority is the derby."