Palermo set sights on Champions League place

ROME - Palermo's strong form has much of Sicily dreaming of Champions League football, but one man not getting carried away before Sunday's visit to Udinese is coach Delio Rossi.

Rossi has taken Palermo from the mid-table to fourth, which is good for a place in the Champions League preliminaries, after replacing Walter Zenga in the dugout in November.

His side hold a two-point advantage over fifth-placed Juventus, who were assembled with a far higher budget, but Rossi is determined not to let complacency set in.

"In cycling you get prizes for winning stages, but unfortunately in football you don't," the softly spoken former Lazio boss told reporters. "You either get there or you don't."

His side's success so far has been based on high tempo football with incisive well drilled movement from his players that has won plaudits for artistic merit as well as points.

This style of play has brought the best out of inventive forward Fabrizio Miccoli, who thinks he should be considered for an Italy recall before the World Cup, although he is not optimistic after winning his last international cap in 2004.

"I don't understand why no one ever talks about me for the national team," said the 30-year-old, whose former clubs include Juventus, Fiorentina and Benfica.

"I think I'm out of time (for the World Cup). I'm a little sorry about that, I admit it."

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho will serve the final part of a three-match touchline ban when the leaders visit Catania on Friday before next week's Champions League match at Chelsea.

Mourinho, handed the ban for a controversial handcuffs gesture in a draw with Sampdoria last month, will be without suspended defender Walter Samuel as his side try to put some shaky form behind them, after four draws in five league games.

AC Milan, who are four points behind in second, face Chievo Verona at home on Sunday after the humiliating 4-0 defeat at Manchester United on Wednesday ended their Champions League campaign in the last 16.

Third-placed AS Roma face lowly Livorno away on Sunday, when Juventus entertain bottom side Siena.