Friday, 14 March 2008

Serie A Week 28: Weekend Preview

Inter fans can breathe a sigh of relief ahead of this weekend's fixtures after the club confirmed Roberto Mancini will continue to guide the Nerazzurri next season, despite announcing on Tuesday he would step down this summer.

The Serie A champions, who host Palermo on Sunday, have restored normality after Mancini's surprising revelations following his team's exit from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Liverpool.

"I am sorry for any misunderstandings that may have arisen," said Mancini, who has four years left in his contract with Inter.

"I hope those who experience football can understand the bitterness and the reactions at delicate moments.

"After the game I spoke from the heart of Roberto Mancini as coach. I want to thank president Massimo Moratti for giving me the strength, for his understanding.

"The team knows it, we are ready to fight until the last minute, with great intensity to clinch our third Scudetto and to try to win the Champions League next season."

Mancini's U-turn may be good news for the Nerazzurri but not for Scudetto contenders Roma.

With 11 games left to play, the Giallorossi had hoped Inter's crisis would aid them as they attempt to cut their six-point deficit at the top.

"Inter may have some problems now," said Roma captain Francesco Totti. "Anything can happen and we will see how the Inter players react but we just have to focus on our games."

Roma face a mighty challenge on Saturday night when they play hosts to AC Milan.

The Rossoneri will be desperate for a win to leapfrog Fiorentina, who hold the last Champions League qualifying spot and are one-point clear of Milan.

The Viola, inspired by their qualification to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday, take on Genoa at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Third-place Juventus will be looking to return to the winning ways at Turin's Stadio Olympic when they entertain Napoli on Sunday evening.

The Bianconeri have taken just one point in their last two home games.

Udinese will be under pressure to come out triumphant against Lazio if they wish to hold onto the last UEFA Cup qualifying spot.

A slip by the Friuli outfit in Saturday's early game will benefit Sampdoria, provided the Blucerchiati beat Catania.

Samp trail one-point behind Udinese in the table.

Atalanta will be looking to stop the rot when they meet strugglers Empoli with the Bergamaschi having lost their last two encounters.

Parma fans will be hoping the club's appointment of Hector Cuper as coach this week will spring their team's season into life.

The Gialloblu, who travel to Tuscany to meet Livorno, are one position clear of the drop zone.

In other games, relegation-troubled Reggina take on Siena while bottom-side Cagliari play hosts to Torino looking to reduce their seven-point gap from safety.

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