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AC Milan just need two new players to contend

AC Milan only need two good close-season signings to be back at their best, coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

Ancelotti is under pressure with his side trailing Serie A leaders and city rivals Intern Milan by 14 points in third place and are effectively out of the title race.

Last season Milan finished fifth and failed to qualify for the Champions League. They were favourites to win the UEFA Cup this year but lost in the round of 32 to Werder Bremen. However, Ancelotti, whose contract runs until 2010, is confident it will not take much to turn things around.

“With two well-chosen buys we’ll be competitive again,” he told the club website. We need a central defender and a striker, because those departments should be reinforced.”

Next season Milan’s back line will be without inspirational 40-year-old captain Paolo Maldini, who plans to retire in May.

Ancelotti said there was no way he would leave Milan if they qualified for the Champions League group stage by coming third.

He also denied media reports he lunched with Florentino Perez recently to discuss taking over at Real Madrid next term if Perez is re-elected president of the Spanish champions. “There is no truth in it,” he said, before quipping “and anyway the first course was cannelloni and no one wrote that”.

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