MICHELOTTI put their financial worries behind them to close the gap at the top of the Hongkong First Division to three points with a 2-0 victory over Sing Tao at Shamshuipo last night. For the past few weeks, the Michelotti players have faced an uncertain future with delays in the payment of monthly salaries. And despite claims from the management that the future is secure, there has still been a lot of tension in the players' match build-up. But none of the uncertainty spilled on to the pitch where Michelotti focused on playing football. Two first-half goals were enough to give Michelotti victory and condemn Sing Tao to a third defeat of the season. They now have 18 points from nine matches, three points behind leaders Eastern, who have played only seven. Michelotti took the lead in the 23rd minute when striker Tony Sealy held off two defenders and prodded a shot under the advancing Sing Tao keeper Peter Guthrie. Twelve minutes later, they made it 2-0 through Alan Walsh's fifth goal of the season. With the Sing Tao defence flat-footed at a free-kick, Walsh fired a low left-foot drive into the net. Michelotti chairman Alfred Yuen said before the game that the club's financial problems were over. He said they had been caused by a misunderstanding between the management and the accountant over the timing of the monthly payroll. And he pledged an increase of at least $1 million for next season. Yuen said: ''Our budget at the start of this season was between $4.5 million and $5 million but this will be increased to between $6.5 million and $7 million by the end of the season. ''This is because we have improved the salaries of the local players, had to rent two more apartments and also pay more bonus money. ''If things go well in the next two months and we are still near the top of the table, it is our plan to put in at least an extra million dollars for next season.'' The First Division action continues today when Instant-Dict meet Kui Tan at Mongkok Stadium. Instant-Dict will include their new signing Steve Berry, who has returned to the club after a spell in Germany. He replaces Robert Hopkins, who has returned to the UK. Kui Tan are set to sign Graham Cooper for a month's trial but must wait two weeks longer for the arrival of Mark Falco, the former Tottenham and Glasgow Rangers striker.