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Never have the stakes been higher for a North-East derby as Newcastle and Middlesbrough do battle in a massive six-pointer at St James’ Park.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has denied he has been issued with an ultimatum to agree to take over as manager of Chelsea next season.

Instead, the Rossoneri coach claims he will continue in charge at the San Siro.

Speaking after Sunday’s 1-1 draw at home to Juventus, Ancelotti branded talk of an ultimatum as “rubbish”.

“It is not a problem which concerns me,” he said.

“I don’t have to give my availability. The time has not yet come for me to be replaced at Milan.”

Ancelotti still has a year left to run on his contract with Milan and last night’s draw should be enough to guarantee them a place in next season’s Champions League.

“It’s easier to win in Europe with Milan than with other clubs so I am staying here,” he added.

On the domestic front, though, Ancelotti has conceded Milan’s Scudetto hopes are now over.

Rivals Inter can now clinch a fourth straight title by beating Siena at the San Siro this coming Sunday, regardless of how Milan get on at Udinese 24 hours earlier.

“That issue had already been dealt with,” he said. “Our aim is to get one more win to finish in the top three.

“It is not going to be easy at Udinese because they are in good form, but we should be able to take the points home with us from one of the next three games.”

Never have the stakes been higher for a North-East derby as Newcastle and Middlesbrough do battle in a massive six-pointer at St James’ Park.

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