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AC Milan looking to bounce back against Juventus in Serie A

07 April 2016, 21:32

Milan - After appearing to be outside contenders for a Champions League spot, AC Milan is once again struggling for consistency.

Milan strung a series of results together at the beginning of the year and reached the final of the Italian Cup, but it has been downhill since then.

Sinisa Mihajlovic's team has not won since February, losing two of its four matches, including Sunday's disappointing defeat at Atalanta to leave it 14 points behind third-placed Roma.

The club has been on a training retreat since then in a bid to turn the situation around.

Also read: Suarez sparks Barca’s seven-game Atletico winning streak

"It's a tricky time, we're coming from four matches in which we have only got two points and we can't be anything but dissatisfied," Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo said. "It's not acceptable to do so little.

"I don't think the solution to everything is the training retreat but at this time I think it is useful to give us a greater sense of responsibility, for everyone to look inside themselves and understand that we can't continue like this. We have to understand why, after having found a good consistency, we have done too little in the past few matches."

Milan faces the toughest of matches as it attempts to turn that run around, with the visit of a Juventus side which has won 21 of its past 22 league matches.

Reports say Mihajlovic could be fired if his team puts on another poor display against the Serie A leader.

"The team is and has always been with Mihajlovic," Montolivo said. "He is a coach who gives the best of himself under pressure and together we will try to get out of this difficult period. There's a tricky test waiting for us Saturday but you will see a different team on the pitch."

It was a poor weekend for the city, with Inter Milan also losing on Sunday to leave it eight points behind Roma. It visits relegation-threatened Frosinone on Saturday.

Carpi also plays on Saturday, at Chievo Verona, while Sassuolo hosts Genoa.

On Sunday, Empoli welcomes Fiorentina in a local derby and it's also: Napoli vs. Hellas Verona; Sampdoria vs. Udinese; Torino vs. Atalanta; and Palermo vs. Lazio.

Roma hosts Bologna on Monday.

Here are a few things to know about Serie A entering this weekend's matches:


Lazio has also been in a training retreat, following Sunday's 4-1 derby loss to Roma which led to the dismissal of coach Stefano Pioli.

Youth team coach Simone Inzaghi was named as his replacement and took his first training session on his 40th birthday.

"It's a lovely feeling to celebrate a birthday and the first training session on the same day," Inzaghi said. "I know that Lazio is going through a bit of a bad patch but I have seen that the lads are absolutely ready.

"Now there's nothing left to do but start working, I'm ready."


They are great friends off the pitch but on Saturday, for a few hours at least, Juan Cuadrado and Carlos Bacca will be enemies.

Used to playing together for Colombia, where they have almost a telepathic understanding, they will be on opposite sides for the first time as Bacca's Milan hosts Juventus and Cuadrado.

"It's the match everyone wants to play in," Bacca said. "We're facing the league champion, the Champions League runner-up and the league leader, who have truly great players. We're really keen to do a good job on our home ground.

"I'm feeling good and I've come back bursting with confidence to try and do my bit."

Bacca is certainly full of confidence after scoring three goals in World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Ecuador — his first in competitive action for his country.

Both Bacca and Cuadrado are having impressive first seasons, with the former having scored 16 goals for Milan in his debut campaign in Italian football.

Not bad for someone who hadn't even played a minute of top-flight football before he was 23 and who was still working as a ticket clerk on the bus route connecting home town Puerto Colombia and Barranquilla nine years ago.


Gonzalo Higuain has been making headlines this season, with his 30 goals in 31 matches firing Napoli's title challenge.

However, it all went wrong for the Argentina forward and his team on Sunday as Napoli's scudetto hopes imploded in a 3-1 loss at Udinese.

Higuain lost control and placed his hands on the referee's chest when he was sent off following two bookings and has since been banned for four matches.

Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri was also suspended for one game after he too was sent off for protests. The club is appealing both decisions.

The defeat left Napoli six points behind league leader Juventus and only four ahead of third-place Roma with seven matches remaining.

- AP


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