Ancelotti confident ahead of massive Inter derby

May 3, 2008

MILAN, May 3 (Reuters) - Coach Carlo Ancelotti was confident AC Milan would keep alive their Champions League qualification hopes and delay Inter Milan's title celebrations by winning Sunday's derby.

Inter will retain their Serie A crown with two games to spare if they win at the San Siro.

Fifth place Milan are keen to bag the three points as it would boost their chances of securing a place in Europe's premier club competition. They lie two points behind fourth-placed Fiorentina, who currently occupy the final Champions League qualifying spot.

"The team is in good shape. We have rediscovered our qualities and we are in the best condition to face Inter," Ancelotti told a news conference on Saturday.

"We have to do everything to win this game. Our future depends on tomorrow. It's important... but after we'll have to beat Napoli and Udinese too."

The seven-times European champions are 23 points behind leaders Inter after struggling in Serie A this season, especially at the San Siro. But they have regained form in their last two games, thrashing strugglers Reggina and Livorno 5-1 and 4-1 respectively.

Ancelotti said he will field the same side that crushed Livorno, with Filippo Inzaghi leading the attack after hitting a hat-trick last week.

Inter could still win the title if they lose or draw this weekend, provided second-placed AS Roma do not get a better result at Sampdoria and their six-point lead stays intact. This is because the champions have a superior head-to-head record.

Inter coach Roberto Mancini said his side would not be distracted by having the title within their grasp.

"We must not be audacious and think that we have to thrash them or that it doesn't matter if we lose," Mancini said.

"We have to be cool headed. It is important for us to win without giving them the chance to use the weapons they have. We'll have to be well balanced."

Inter have won the last three league encounters between the teams.