AC Milan set sights on victory against Juventus in Turin
Juventus may be cruising to a 29th Serie A title, but AC Milan are still aiming to come away from Turin with a win this weekend, striker Stephan El Shaarawy says.
With Juventus now 11 points ahead of Napoli after the second-placed side's 1-1 draw at Milan last week, a second straight Scudetto already seems a formality for the Turin giants.
However, the fight for the runners-up spot, which gives direct access to the Champions League, is far from over. Napoli, who host Cagliari tomorrow, are on 53 points, with Milan just four points behind and unbeaten in 14 league matches this year.
"Sunday will be a big test of concentration," said El Shaarawy. "Whichever team makes the least mistakes will win.
"We'll give it everything to bring back the three points," he said. "It will be crucial to make a strong start and maintain a fast tempo throughout." Juve have not lost a league game at home since a shock 2-1 reverse to Sampdoria in January, and their 2-0 away win at Lazio on Monday means the champions now require seven points from their remaining six games to secure the title. But with key games against Milan and then city rivals Torino, defender Andrea Barzagli says they can take nothing for granted.
"They will be two important games, but we're focusing only on the first," said Barzagli, who is two away from making 100 appearances for the club.
"Both Milan and ourselves need points. We're chasing the Scudetto, while they're aiming for Champions League qualification," he added. "It won't be easy, but we're preparing well."
Meanwhile, third-placed Fiorentina, who host Torino, will be looking to distance themselves from fourth-placed Lazio, who face a tricky trip to Udinese in today's late game. But Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella insists that he is not looking over his shoulder at their pursuers.
"Our objective is to consolidate our position in the table, then we'll see," Montella said.
Elsewhere, the dream of any European football next season is fading fast for 2010 Champions League winners Inter, who host Parma today after their midweek Italian Cup semi-final exit at the hands of Roma. Andrea Stramaccioni's position as Inter coach has come under scrutiny, but club president Massimo Moratti appears to have given the 37-year-old a vote of confidence.
"I've got no doubts about the coach," he said. "Certain names have been mentioned [as possible replacements] in the media but I have contacted no one."