Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

Inter Milan and Napoli look to banish Champions League blues

Serie A sides endured frustrating nights in European football and turn their attentions back to domestic competition

Manager Antonio Conte criticised Inter Milan directors for poor planning after his team squandered a two-goal lead and lose 3-2 to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Reuters
Manager Antonio Conte criticised Inter Milan directors for poor planning after his team squandered a two-goal lead and lose 3-2 to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Reuters

Inter Milan and Napoli return to the Serie A fray after a disappointing week of European football for the Italian giants, as leaders Juventus look to pull clear after punching their ticket to the Champions League last 16.

Juventus have 29 points from 11 games, one point ahead of Inter Milan, with resurgent Roma a further six points adrift in third. Napoli are seventh after a run of three league games without a victory.

A win over struggling AC Milan would allow Juventus to keep ahead of Inter, who host mid-table Verona after their 3-2 Champions League defeat by Borussia Dortmund.

After the frustration of throwing away a two-goal lead against the Germans, Antonio Conte's Inter need a boost against Verona, who were themselves under fire during the week after their fans aimed racist chants at Brescia's Mario Balotelli last weekend.

"This defeat has really got to me and I hope that's the same for my players," said Conte, who blamed a lack of resources despite remodelling the team after his arrival last summer.

"We made some mistakes in planning because we cannot play in two competitions with such a small squad," said former Italy manager Conte, who won three Serie A titles in a row with Juventus from 2012 to 2014, and the Premier League with Chelsea in 2017.

"We cannot play in Serie A and the Champions League constantly pushed to the limits."

Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli host Genoa after a series of poor results which has put the club management at loggerheads with the players.

The club threatened to take legal action against its own players after the squad defied an order by president Aurelio De Laurentiis to remain at the club’s Castel Volturno training complex until Sunday.

According to Sky Sport Italia, Ancelotti has opted to put them into a training retreat for just one night – Friday – leading up to the Genoa match.

Napoli have slipped 11 points off the pace after collecting just two points from their last three matches.

Ancelotti's side also missed a chance to secure their Champions League last 16 berth with a 1-1 stalemate against Salzburg.

"We are not in a good moment, but we must react and move forward," said captain Lorenzo Insigne.

In a clash between two of Italy's most titled clubs, Sarri's eight-time reigning league champions host AC Milan who are sitting 11th in the table.

New Milan manager Stefano Pioli has not improved the club's fortunes with just four points in as many games.

Juventus, meanwhile, could be without Cristiano Ronaldo who was substituted by Sarri "as a precautionary" measure with knee and thigh problems late in the 2-1 Champions League win over Lokomotiv Moscow.

Roma will looking to keep the momentum going at Parma, to follow their 2-1 success over Napoli last weekend which lifted them into the Champions League places.

Atalanta turn their focus to Sampdoria after bagging their first ever Champions League point with a dramatic 1-1 draw against Manchester City.

The Bergamo side are level on points with fourth-placed Lazio. Fabio Grosso's first game in charge of lowly Brescia will be against Torino who are also desperate for a result after a run of six games without a win.

Updated: November 8, 2019 04:57 PM

SHARE

SHARE

Editor's Picks