Ancelotti wants seven more glory years

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti celebrated seven years at the helm of the club on Thursday with a 1-0 UEFA Cup victory over Sporting Braga that leaves the Italian giants sitting pretty at home and abroad.

Milan are top of Serie A on 22 points from ten matches despite having begun the season with two successive defeats. They have won all four matches they have played in the UEFA Cup this season and look certain to qualify for the next knockout stages.

And despite some difficult moments during the last year, and even speculation that Ancelotti's time at the San Siro could be about to end, the former Roma and Milan midfielder is starting to develop into the Sir Alex Ferguson of Italian football.

He is the longest serving coach in Serie A and has no intention of moving on just yet. "It's now seven years since I arrived on the Milan bench, the first seven are over now, this match was the first of the next seven years," he said of the Braga clash, won by a Ronaldinho rocket three minutes into injury time.

I hope we will win many more cups and titles
Carlo Ancelotti hopes that the next seven years at the San Siro will be as successful as the first seven.

"My first match was in the Italian Cup and we beat Perugia 3-0, and this time too we played outside the championship and we've begun with a victory. ."

Ancelotti has guided Milan to two UEFA Champions League crowns, a Serie A title, an Italian Cup, two UEFA Super Cups and the FIFA Club World Cup during his time at the San Siro.

It is a record that compares well to any of the top Italian coaches of his generation, even if another Serie A crown is well overdue. But the wait since 2004 to add a second scudetto crown could end in May if Milan continue on their current path, and that despite instrumental play-maker Andrea Pirlo being out injured.

In his place Gennaro Gattuso, who many thought would leave in the summer to move to the English Premier League, has taken on added responsibility.

"Gattuso is an incredible player, his presence is very important, particularly during this period when he's feeling good, he feels like the leader of the group," added Ancelotti.

"Ronaldinho has also been fantastic, he's a player from whom you can expect everything and from a practical point of view he's been important because he's already scored five goals."

Thursday's match was also useful as it gave Ancelotti the chance to blood on-loan Swiss centre-back Philippe Senderos, who partnered Georgia's Kakha Kaladze in defence.

"Kaladze and Senderos played together as a central defensive partnership for the first time and that was important not least because they're not in top physical condition, but I'm happy," added Ancelotti, who is unlikely to stick with the pair for Sunday's trip to southerners Lecce.

"Sunday we go to Lecce, it will be a difficult match and that's why I rested several players while also giving playing time to others (against Braga)."