Milan: After beating Napoli to move into second place in the Serie A last weekend, Inter Milan faces another direct rival in fourth-placed Lazio on Saturday. Inter has impressed against the top teams this season, also beating defending champion and leader Juventus. It's the teams down the table it has struggled and dropped points against, teams such as relegation-threatened Genoa which it faces next week.
"We're progressing game after game and looking to do well, then it depends on how the others do," Inter President Massimo Moratti said. "I liked that we took on Napoli with the right attitude. We've always had a great concentration in those matches. I think the coach has had the same focus in other games, but maybe there was a bit less concentration. "We want to win the next two games to have a good Christmas, even if they will not be easy matches. But we at Inter also want to win in the next few months to have a splendid summer."
Inter has won its last two matches in the Serie A, while Lazio is also in form and is unbeaten in its last five league matches. If Inter slips up, Juventus can extend its four-point lead at the top of the standings when it takes on Atalanta a day later.
It is an under-strength Lazio which welcomes Inter to the Stadio Olimpico. The capital side will be without the injured Ederson, Tommaso Rocchi, Cristian Brocchi and André Dias, while Luis Pedro Cavanda and Libor Kozak are suspended. Abdoulay Konko and Sergio Floccari are also injury doubts. Lazio President Claudio Lotito is nevertheless hoping for a better performance than in the goalless draw against Bologna.
"We weren't very aggressive, a draw was the right result," he said. "This shows that concentration is fundamental, because without it you can't express yourself at your best. We weren't focused, we weren't Lazio. "We're obviously not going into the Inter match in the best conditions, I hope that doesn't penalize us more. We have a strong squad but also a lot of injuries and now players which are suspended. I hope those who play against Inter have the same winning mentality as we saw in the past few games."
Juventus advanced to the Italian Cup quarterfinals by beating Cagliari 1-0 on Wednesday in coach Antonio Conte's first home match since returning from a four-month ban for match-fixing, stemming from when he coached Siena two seasons ago. Conte made his Serie A return in the 1-0 win at Palermo last weekend.
Juventus is looking to make it five wins on the trot in all competitions, against Atalanta. However it could be without midfielder Arturo Vidal and forward Nicklas Bendtner after both were injured against Cagliari. Napoli will be looking to bounce back from its 2-1 defeat at Inter when it entertains Bologna, while fifth-placed Roma travels to Chievo Verona aiming to extend its winning run in the league to five matches.
Fiorentina is level on points with Roma, and it hosts bottom club Siena. AC Milan has climbed to seventh on the table after a turnaround and will be hoping to celebrate its 113th birthday with a home win against Pescara. Pescara is in the bottom three along with Siena and Genoa, whose coach Luigi Del Neri needs a result against Torino after losing seven of his eight games in charge.
Also on Sunday, it's Catania vs. Sampdoria and Parma vs. Cagliari. Saturday's other game sees Udinese entertain Palermo.