Juventus and Roma seeking confidence boosts
MILAN (AP) — After chastening losses in the Champions League, Juventus and Roma seek morale boosts at the expense of Palermo and Sampdoria in the Serie A this weekend.
Roma can move provisionally top if it beats third-place Sampdoria on Saturday, with Juventus hosting Palermo a day later.
Also, a resurgent Lazio will be looking for a fourth successive win when it entertains Hellas Verona, while bottom club Parma will be hoping to avoid a fifth straight defeat against fellow struggler Sassuolo.
Here are some things to know about this weekend’s matches:
JUVE DESPERATE FOR WIN: Juventus needs a win at home to Palermo to put a miserable week firmly behind it.
The three-time defending champion dropped its first points of the season last weekend when it was held to a draw by bottom club Sassuolo.
It then lost 1-0 at Olympiakos in the Champions League on Wednesday to leave it with an uphill task to qualify for the knockout stages.
“It’s a shame,” Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini said. “We now have everything at stake in the upcoming matches and we’ll need to approach them with a different attitude than we’ve shown.
“We have Palermo now. With all due respect to them, only a win will do if we’re to regain the rhythm we showed at the start of the season.”
ROMA REELING: Roma will have to pick itself up swiftly from its hefty Champions League defeat as it visits Sampdoria, which is swiftly proving to be the Serie A’s surprise story.
Rudi Garcia’s men were thrashed 7-1 at home by Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, just one of those days,” Roma’s American president James Pallotta said. “Watching the Boston Celtics over my life, we had many many bad days on the way to 17 championships. One day doesn’t change anything. It happens on the way to glory.
“I saw a video of our fans after the game, made me cry. You are the best in the world. So proud of being part of Roma.”
Roma is second in the Serie A, a point behind Juventus and three ahead of Sampdoria.
Coincidentally, the other time Roma lost 7-1 in the Champions League — against Manchester United — it also faced Sampdoria in its next match, winning 4-0.
SAMP THE SURPRISE: Sampdoria, along with Juve, is the only other team yet to lose a match this season.
“Maybe on paper, Samp doesn’t have the same potential as the big clubs but as a group we can go very far,” Sampdoria defender Lorenzo De Silvestri said. “There is a good understanding this year between the fans and the squad, and even with the club and the president (Massimo Ferrero), who often comes to celebrate with us.”
MILAN UNITED: AC Milan players are enjoying their football under former club idol Filippo Inzaghi. The team that finished eighth last season is fourth, five points behind Juve.
“He (Inzaghi) worked on the group and on the togetherness of the squad, which was missing last year,” right back Mattia De Sciglio said. “If you are united off the field, then you see the results of that in the game, too.
“His main quality is that he transmits enthusiasm. He asks us for commitment and availability, but he’s more permissive than you’d think: Having been a player, he understands our needs.”
Milan hosts Fiorentina on Sunday, looking for its third successive win.
ALL CHANGE AT CHIEVO: The first Serie A coaching change last Sunday saw Chievo Verona sack Eugenio Corini and appoint former club captain Rolando Maran.
Maran’s first match in charge will be at home to Genoa on Sunday.
Chievo is languishing at the foot of the table, just a point off bottom spot. However, the team had a difficult draw, with Juventus, Napoli, AC Milan and Roma scheduled in the opening seven matches.