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Roma seek to consolidate their summit spot at Inter Milan on Saturday as sleeping Serie A giants Juventus need a much needed pick-me-up in their derby clash with Torino.
Roma at San Siro, ailing Juve in derby test

Roma seek to consolidate their summit spot at Inter Milan on Saturday as sleeping Serie A giants Juventus need a much needed pick-me-up in their derby clash with Torino.

Roma arrive at the San Siro on a six-match winning streak after Wednesday's Maicon-inspired 3-1 success over Udinese.

That lifted them back into the Serie A lead, two points clear of Napoli, Fiorentina and Inter, who saw off Bologna 24 hours earlier.

Roma's Greek international Kostas Manolas, who set up Gervinho for the third goal against Udinese, says the mood is buoyant at the Stadio Olimpico.

"We have a great side here...we're getting more and more confident. We have to carry on like this, but we need to work even more. Next up is Inter and we want to win that game."

Brazilian star Maicon, who scored one and set up another on Wednesday, says despite Roma's surge to the summit it was too soon to start contemplating a first Scudetto title since 2001.

"It's too early. I've won many titles and I know it doesn't work like that.

"We've got a long way to go, but we're on the right track and we have to keep on moving in this direction."

Roberto Mancini's Inter snapped a four-game winless run in midweek to put them in an improved frame of mind for their top-of-the-table clash.

Whatever the outcome Inter's Slovenia keeper Samir Handanovic can expect to put in a busier shift on Saturday than the one against Bologna.

"The team is flying right now. We've got another match coming up on Saturday and we need to recover before then, plain and simple. Roma will be a big test in our home stadium," he said.

While Roma and Inter's stars are in the ascendancy, Juve's appears on the wane -- Wednesday's 1-0 loss at Sampdoria leaving the defending champions in a lowly 12th position, 11 adrift of Roma.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri did not mince his words about what he wanted from himself and his under-achieving titleholders.

Speaking after the Sampdoria loss he said: "There was no need for us to be tense and commit fouls near our area.

"There’s absolutely no excuse for it, we must grow quickly and take responsibility. We are Juventus and our approach needs to be different.

"We need to get through this by working and preparing for Saturday's derby, then we’ve got the Champions League.

"Everyone needs to take the blame for tonight and I'm the first to hold my hands up. We must do better."

Sunday's action sees Napoli, in second on goal difference, at Genoa and third-placed Fiorentina hosting strugglers Frosinone.

Maurizio Sarri's highflying Napoli extended their winning run in all competitions to seven with a 2-0 defeat of Palermo in midweek.

"I'm satisfied with our performances but we can't become big headed," said Sarri.

"We need to remain balanced, only two points cover five teams and we're not even at the halfway point of the season."

One team brushed aside by Napoli this month, AC Milan, travel to Lazio seemingly in good heart after back-to-back wins but they'll need to be with their hosts having won all eight of their home games this campaign.

Serie A fixtures (all times GMT)


Juventus v Torino (1700), Inter Milan v Roma (1945)


Fiorentina v Frosinone (1130), Bologna v Atalanta (1400), Carpi v Verona (1400), Genoa v Napoli (1400), Udinese v Sassuolo (1400), Lazio v AC Milan (1945)


Chievo v Sampdoria (1800), Palermo v Empoli (2000)

Source: afp
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