D’Ambrosio: “We need to win for our fans and because of our history”

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Danilo D’Ambrosio spoke alongside Matteo Politano during Inter’s pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow night’s crucial UEFA Champions League group stage match at home to PSV Eindhoven. Indeed, it will be a decisive game for the Nerazzurri, who must better Tottenham Hotspur’s result against leaders Barcelona in order to reach the Round of 16 stage of the competition. Here is what the former Torino full-back said to the gathered journalists in Appiano Gentile: Continue reading

Spalletti: “The PSV match is the most important one since I’ve been here”

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Earlier this afternoon, Luciano Spalletti held his traditional pre-match press conference at the Suning Training Centre ahead of tomorrow night’s crucial UEFA Champions League group stage match against reigning Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven. Here is what the 59-year-old Tuscan said to the journalists in attendance: “This match is the most important one since I’ve been here and it represents the next step that follows on from Lazio vs. Inter on 20 May. Since I’ve been here, we’ve got the points and put in the performances that we needed. Now, we’re here to play for a spot in the last 16 on the final day of the group stage. Continue reading

Lazio’s Winless Streak Continues Against Sampdoria

Winless in their last four going into Saturday’s clash against Sampdoria, Lazio needed to rebound at home. After a dubious stoppage time penalty shot from Ciro Immobile put the hosts ahead late, it seemed like it would finally be their day. Yet, in the 99th minute, a headed-on long ball found its path to an onrushing Riccardo Saponara who expertly lobbed Strakosha with a deft touch, stripping the biancocelesti of the three points. The draw was Lazio’s fourth consecutive and sees the side trailing an injury-riddled Milan by a point for the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Lazio’s struggles haven’t gone unnoticed in the peninsula leading Simone Inzaghi to the hot-seat. With Champions League football as the objective, the Italian tactician is facing pressure for the first time since taking over in the nation’s capital. Throughout this poor stretch, the biancocelesti have largely been wasteful in front of goal, averaging a mere goal a game. Outside of their talisman Immobile, no player on the team has more than three Serie A goals, leading many to believe they’re a one-man show in the final third. Despite their struggles, Lotito has assured the fans Inzaghi is here to stay.

“The coach will be here for the next few years. We’ve put a lot of things in place to grow the club and it can happen that some games don’t go in the right direction, but that doesn’t mean catastrophes or broken relationships,” said the Lazio president.

When it goes wrong it’s easy to scapegoat the manager but both Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto have been shadows of their former selves and have been wholly ineffective in the final phase, whereas last season they were key contributors. While the Serbian’s price-tag was quoted near the 100 million mark just this summer, Lazio president Claudio Lotito will be lucky to recoup even half of that if he keeps performing like this. Luis Alberto, on the other hand, has failed to follow up his debut season in Serie A and has suffered from the same inconsistency problems that plagued him earlier in his career.

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Spalletti deserves criticism for handing initiative to Juventus in Derby d’Italia

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“It’s unfortunate that we lost, but we were the team that had the bigger chances during the game. But this is Juventus’s strength: we more than matched them, but they know how to fully capitalise on their opportunities. We didn’t manage to find the back of the net, however. We could have got a better result tonight, but we’ll try to take good heart from the good things we did tonight: on Tuesday evening, we have to win at San Siro in front of our fans, who are always fantastic.” Continue reading

Roma and Lazio drop points, AC Milan with a golden opportunity

Tomorrow evening, AC Milan will take on Torino at the San Siro, following an important win against Parma last weekend. Despite the long injury list, Gattuso’s men will look to continue their positive run, as a win would put them closer to their city rivals Inter. 

Last weekend, the Rossoneri put in a good performance against Parma, eventually grabbing the win after going down early in the second half. Considering the number of injuries on important players, Gattuso has certainly proved that his team is mentally strong, being able to focus on one game at a time. Not only was the win important for the team’s self-esteem, but it also saw them jump to 4th place, as Lazio failed to beat Chievo away from home.

However, even though Parma have started their season well, it’s expected that the clash with Torino will be slightly tougher. Il Toro have lost only one of their last nine league matches: four wins and four draws. In addition to this, they are one of the two sides (alongside Juventus) to have lost none of their away games in Serie A this season. Milan, on the other hand, are unbeaten at the San Siro against Torino in Serie A since 1985: 15 wins and seven draws since then. In other words, tomorrow’s encounter will be interesting.

According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, Gattuso will only make one change to the line-up. Calabria and Rodriguez will start as the full-backs, while Abate and Zapata will pair up once again in front of Donnarumma in goal. In the middle, Bakayoko and Kessie will start once again, getting the support of Suso and Calhanoglu on the flanks.

Up front, however, is where the change will be. As Higuain has served his two-game ban, Gattuso will revert back to two strikers, also fielding the youngster Patrick Cutrone, who scored one of the two goals last weekend.

Likely AC Milan XI (4-4-2): Donnarumma; Calabria, Abate, Zapata, Rodriguez; Suso, Kessie, Bakayoko, Calhanoglu; Higuain, Cutrone.

More importantly, Milan need to take advantage of the situation. Lazio and Roma, fifth and sixth respectively, both dropped points today. The former had the lead up until the 99th minute when former Milan man Saponara scored the equaliser, while Cagliari’s Sau scored in the 95th minute to tie it up against the Giallorossi. 

With that said, Gattuso’s men will have the chance to gain a three-point advantage on Lazio, as well as a seven-point advantage on Roma. In addition to this, a win would get them within one point of their city rivals Inter, who are currently on 29 points after their loss yesterday away at Juventus. In other words, the pressure will be on Milan to deliver tomorrow, although you could also argue that Roma and Lazio’s results might calm them down a little.

In any case, should the Rossoneri continue their fine form recently, then they should be able to beat Torino in front of their home crowd. However, as we all know with Milan these days, you can never take anything for granted.

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Spalletti: “We did well for long spells, but we’re still too careless at times”

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Luciano Spalletti was understandably frustrated by the manner in which his Inter side were defeated 1-0 by Juventus in tonight’s showpiece Derby d’Italia at Allianz Stadium in Turin. Indeed, the 59-year-old Tuscan made it perfectly clear to the media after the match that he was not satisfied with the way his players handled themselves during the crucial moments, particularly during the second half. Here is what he said: “We did quite well in the game, the team played some great football but we got things wrong at certain times which cannot happen against Juventus. Continue reading

Spalletti: “We’ll face Juventus with courage and determination”

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Ahead of tonight’s Derby d’Italia between Juventus and Inter, Nerazzurri coach Luciano Spalletti held his traditional pre-match press conference yesterday afternoon. The 59-year-old Tuscan was full of praise for the Bianconeri and the way in which they have continually strengthened their squad over the course of the past few years. Here is what he had to say to the gathered journalists at the Suning Training Centre: Continue reading

Lazio stand united as season teeters on knife-edge

Lazio Chievo

The message was clear – this is not a punishment, but a moment to address the elephant in the room.

Lazio’s failure to beat rock-bottom Chievo last weekend, a game that they needed to come from behind to take a point from, sparked an inevitable wave of criticism and pushed the club hierarchy into calling the first ‘ritiro’ of Simone Inzaghi’s reign.

It was the capital club’s third league draw in a row, with a dismal Europa League defeat to Apollon Limassol coming between those results, and came at a cost as Milan leapfrogged the Biancocelesti into the fourth and final Champions League spot they are so desperate to make their own. Continue reading

Serie A Probable Lineups – Round 15

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Juventus XI: 4-3-3 Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Sciglio; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala, Mandzukic, Ronaldo.

Potential lineup changes: Can for Bentancur, Costa for Dybala.

Questionable: Bentancur (thigh).

Confirmed Out: Khedira (ankle), Sandro (thigh), Barzagli (quad), Kean (thigh).

 

Inter XI: 4-2-3-1 Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, De Vrij, Asamoah; Brozovic, Vecino; Politano, Mario, Perisic; Icardi. Continue reading

Serie A Injury Report – Round 15

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Juventus: Emre Can made the squad list, approximately two months after suffering the thyroid issue. Rodrigo Bentancur is dealing with a back problem, but he was called up. Alex Sandro (thigh) and Sami Khedira (ankle) have been ruled out, same for Andrea Barzagli, who is rumoured to have suffered a severe quad injury, and Moise Kean, who has some muscle fatigue.

Napoli: Simone Verdi will remain on the mend because of an ankle sprain, while Adam Ounas missed the last game with a minor muscular ailment. Alex Meret should be ready to start. Continue reading