Milan - Mauro Icardi struck late as Inter Milan got back to winning ways under the watchful eyes of former coach Jose Mourinho and striker Ronaldo with a 3-1 win over Sampdoria on Saturday.
Inter had secured just one victory in their past seven games and were especially desperate for a win after falling to Khouma Babacar's late strike in a 2-1 reverse at Fiorentina last week.
That result virtually ended Inter's title hopes, but Roberto Mancini's men are among several sides chasing a top three finish in a bid to secure Champions League.
Inter's 14th win in 26 games lifted them one place to fourth, 10 points behind leaders Juventus but only one behind third-placed Fiorentina ahead of La Viola's trip to Atalanta on Sunday.
"It was important to win tonight. When you're going through difficult times, you have to know when to turn things around by playing tightly and seizing all your opportunities," said Mancini.
If Mancini felt under pressure after last week's defeat, he probably had reason to feel even more so after the club announced Mourinho and Ronaldo would be special guests at the San Siro.
Mourinho, sacked by Chelsea two months ago but tipped to take over at Manchester United, steered Inter to the first treble in Italian football history when they won the league, Cup and Champions League in 2010.
But Mancini said: "Mourinho was Inter's coach for two years and is part of the club's history, the same for Ronaldo. I don't see anything wrong (with their presence."
Inter survived a number of early scares from Vincenzo Montella's visitors to break the deadlock on 23 minutes when Danilo D'Ambrosio volleyed Marcelo Brozovic's header from a corner past Emiliano Viviano to score his maiden goal for the club.
Inter reject Andrea Ranocchia looked fired up for the encounter and the towering defender twice came close, bundling a header from a corner just over and then failing to make contact at the back post when a cross deflected off Icardi.
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Inter, however, soon took command of the game and doubled their lead on 57 minutes when Brazilian defender Joao Miranda, also hitting his maiden goal for Inter, got his head to a loose ball at the back post.
Although Viviano clawed the ball out the net, television replays showed it had crossed by at least a foot.
When Ranocchia gave possession away cheaply 17 minutes from the finish, Icardi was sent down the middle by Brozovic and held off two defenders chasing back to beat Viviano with a deft touch from the outside of his boot.
Inter 'keeper Samir Handanovic's hopes for a clean sheet were dashed in the second minute of added-on time when recent Samp signing Fabio Quagliarella fired a superb, angled strike from the edge of the area past the Slovenian 'keeper at the death.
It was his first goal in his second spell at the club, but did little to fix the Genoa club's woes.
Sampdoria remain fourth from bottom just three points ahead of third-from-bottom Frosinone and Montella told Sky Sport: "Obviously, we can't afford to feel relaxed. When you see our league position we have plenty of reason to feel scared.
"At times we dominated Inter, but when you play as well as we did and come away with a defeat like that then something's wrong."
Earlier, Verona breathed life into their survival bid with a 3-1 derby win -- just their second win of the campaign -- over city rivals Chievo.
Verona remain bottom of the table, meaning Luigi Delneri's men still face an anxious run-in to the end of the season.
But striker Giampaolo Pazzini, who hit Verona's second goal, said the players won't quit: "We believe we can stay up. We all know how difficult that's going to be but we have to have faith.
"We won't give up till it's finished."
After Juventus were held to a scoreless draw at Bologna on Friday, Napoli will go top of the pile with a one-point lead on the champions if they beat AC Milan on Monday.