Milan - On-loan Chelsea forward Stipe Perica headed a first-half winner as Udinese began 2016 in style thanks to a battling 2-1 win over Atalanta on Wednesday.
Udinese finished the old year with a precious 1-0 win away at Torino that kept the northerners seven points clear of the relegation zone.
At their newly-refurbished Friuli Stadium, Stefano Colantuono's men thwarted Atalanta's efforts to secure a late equaliser to move up to the relative safety of 10th place.
Udinese, playing in front of a packed crowd thanks to a national public holiday in Italy, were determined to begin the new year in positive fashion and were given an early boost thanks to Cyril Thereau.
The French striker was standing a yard from the back post when Atalanta 'keeper Marco Sportiello spilled a rebound and he finished off the move with an acrobatic bicycle kick that put the hosts ahead on 23 minutes.
Perica, on loan at NAC Breda in Holland for two years and now at Udinese following his signing for Chelsea in 2013, doubled Udinese's lead on the stroke of half-time when he rose to direct a powerful header past Sportiello from the edge of the box.
It left Atalanta staring at a third consecutive defeat and despite Marco D'Alessandro's late consolation, a low volley that beat Orestis Karnezis at his far post, Edy Reja's visitors failed to stop the rot.
Atalanta remain ninth while Udinese's seventh win moved them up to 10th place ahead of the remaining midweek fixtures, 12 points adrift of leaders Inter Milan, who travel to Empoli with a one-point lead on Fiorentina and Napoli.
Fiorentina are away at Palermo, Napoli host Torino while champions Juventus host a Verona side that is missing striker Luca Toni due to a late fitness setback.