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Milan bows out of UEFA Cup

AC Milan has little more than a place in the Champions League left to play for this season after being knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Werder Bremen on Thursday, coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

Milan blew a two-goal lead as it was held 2-2 -- Claudio Pizzaro scoring twice for the Germans -- at home to crash out of the competition on away goals on Thursday after the first leg in Germany ended 1-1.

The seven-time European champion is also out of the Italian Cup and third in Serie A -- 11 points behind leader Inter Milan, which means a top-three finish to guarantee direct entry to next season's Champions League is now the top priority.

"Certainly, it is not much, but it's an important objective. Playing in the Champions League is extremely important for us," he told Sky television.

"We have to concentrate on this and try to do things better than we have up to now."

Despite mounting pressure, he does not think he has come to the end of the line at the club.

"Raising this issue is premature," he replied when asked if his job was in danger. "We have to finish the season as best we can, and then assess things, but I don't think there will be any problems for the future."

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

The Germans set up a meeting with Saint-Etienne in the round of 16.

Udinese was the only one of four Italian teams to progress following a 2-1 win over Lech Poznan. Sampdoria lost at Metalist Kharkiv 0-2 to go out 0-3 over two matches and Fiorentina was eliminated 1-2 following a 1-1 draw at Ajax.

England will also have just one representative in the round of 16 after Aston Villa and two-time UEFA Cup winner Tottenham were knocked out after fielding weakened teams.

Villa was beaten by 2005 champion CSKA Moscow 0-2 and Tottenham drew 1-1 with Shakhtar Donetsk to go out 1-3, leaving only Manchester City to go through following its 2-1 win over FC Copenhagen.


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