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Serie A Weekend Preview

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho has stressed the need for his players to maintain their concentration and not become overconfident as they close in on a fourth successive Serie A title.

The Nerazzurri head into Sunday’s game at Udinese with a seven-point advantage over Scudetto contenders Juventus with nine games remaining.

Mourinho said:

“The margin between us and Juventus doesn’t count but the fact we still have 20 points to play for does. Every week there are less games left to play and Inter continue to win. We are in a privileged position but we have to continue on that path, with concentration and humility. We are a strong group mentally and when you have that, the rest follows.”

The Nerazzurri will be without wing-back Maicon, who has sustained a groin injury and will be sidelined for at least a month.

In-form Juventus entertain Chievo in Turin in buoyant mood having won five league games in a row. Claudio Ranieri’s side have shown no signs of slowing down, scoring 10 goals while conceding just two in the last five rounds.

AC Milan will look to consolidate third place when they take on second-from-bottom Lecce. The Rossoneri, who welcome back Kaka from injury, will fancy their chances having lost just once at the San Siro this season.

Fourth-placed Genoa will have to overcome the absence of top scorer Diego Milito when they travel south to meet Reggina. The Grifoni will be under pressure to win knowing a defeat could see Fiorentina climb above them in the standings.

The Viola are two points behind Genoa, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot. Having ended a three-game winless run with a narrow victory over Siena last time out, Fiorentina make the journey to Bergamo to meet Atalanta. The Viola will be without injured striker Alberto Gilardino.

Roma will be boosted by the return of captain Francesco Totti when they host strugglers Bologna. Totti has recovered from a knee injury and is eager to help the Romans reduce their five-point gap on Genoa. Missing out on next season’s Champions League would prove a huge blow for Luciano Spalletti’s side.

Out-of-form Lazio make the journey to Tuscany desperate to bounce back from defeats to Chievo and Catania which saw them drop to ninth in the standings. 

Newly-appointed Torino coach Giancarlo Camolese will look to put things right when his team travel to La Favorita to meet Palermo. The Granata dismissed Walter Novellino after the team dropped into the relegation zone following three consecutive defeats and with a run of just one win in their last 12 games.

Sampdoria will be hoping striker Giampaolo Pazzini can maintain his form in front of goal when they welcome Napoli. Pazzini has scored eight league goals for the Blucerchiati since joining the club in January.

Cagliari host high-fliers Catania desperate to return to winning ways having collected just one victory in their last four games at the Sant’ Elia.