AC Milan assistant coach Mauro Tassotti has warned against complacency when the Serie A giants host Udinese in the Italian Cup quarter-finals with a place in Europe potentially at stake.
Sitting 30 points behind leaders Juventus and 18 behind Napoli in the third and last Champions League qualifying spot, seven-time European champions Milan appear certain to miss out on a place at Europe's top table next season.
Their best hope of continental competition is the Europa League, but although only seven points behind fifth-placed Inter, Tassotti -- assistant to new Milan coach Clarence Seedorf -- believes the Cup will provide a surer path to Europe.
"We want to progress. The Italian Cup seems the best route to qualify for Europe next season," Tassotti told www.acmilan.com.
"We'll play with a side to win, every player that takes to the pitch will have to keep this in mind. We're favorites because of home advantage and Udinese will play with less pressure on them.
"Even though they're struggling, they're a good side, they've got good players and against us in the Italian Cup they've got a good record."
Seedorf, who spend 10 golden years with the club as a player from 2002 to 2012, made a winning debut as Milan coach on Sunday, although it took a late penalty from striker Mario Balotelli to secure a 1-0 league win over visitors Verona.
Tassotti indicated the 37-year-old Dutchman, who signed a two-and-a-half-year contract last week, was poring over every detail in a bid to make sure Milan climb back up the table.
"I've known Clarence for years. He's very attentive to every minor detail, he's aware of everything, he's completely thrown himself into the job," he added.
"I think he was preparing for this job for a while and it's clear that he was working towards this."
The pick of the Cup ties is Roma against Juventus later on Tuesday, while Fiorentina host Siena on Thursday and holders Lazio visit Napoli on January 29.