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Ancelotti calm as sack rumors surface again

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has shrugged off fresh speculation he could be sacked in May after fans expressed their discontent during Sunday's labored 1-0 win over Cagliari.

Ancelotti, Serie A's longest serving manager since 2001, led Milan to European Cup triumphs in 2003 and 2007 but has captured only one league title in 2004.

His side finished fifth last term and is third this season, 11 points behind leader Inter Milan, which won the city derby 2-1 last week.

"I understand that after seeing the same face on the bench for seven years, the criticism can increase. But I am very attached to the fans and these colors and I calmly accept the criticism, which I think is temporary," he told Radio Rai yesterday.

"Milan have not expressed their best form but I don't think these sorts of performances will continue."

Club owner Silvio Berlusconi criticized Milan's form during the week, increasing media speculation that Ancelotti could be out of a job at the end of the season.

Ancelotti and Sunday's goalscorer Clarence Seedorf, who has struggled of late, were particularly booed by the Milan fans.

The Dutch midfielder pounced after a defensive mix-up in the Cagliari box and sidefooted home from 12 meters in the 65th minute. Though Seedorf's strike proved decisive, England midfielder David Beckham put transfer talk and a recent calf injury behind him and was Milan's most creative player on the day.

Fiorentina returned to the Champions League places with a 2-1 win at home to Chievo Verona, whilst Genoa maintained its pressure with a 1-0 win at Napoli.

Inter leads the standings with 59 points. Juventus, a 2-0 winner at Palermo, is second on 50, Milan has 48 and Fiorentina 45.

Milan appeared tired after its UEFA Cup match at Werder Bremen on Wednesday and Cagliari had the better chances early in the match.

"It was a difficult match and we have a lot of problems in attack," Ancelotti said after the match. "We did what we could. We tried to push for the win and we tried to keep going till the end. We had to play the way we played, we couldn't do anything else."


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