Luka Jovic made the difference for AC Milan one minute after coming on as an 80th-minute substitute with the winning strike in their 3-2 Serie A victory at Frosinone.

Olivier Giroud nodded in the opener which was cancelled out before the break by Matias Soule’s penalty, but Luca Mazzitelli fired the hosts in front after half-time.

The sides were back on level terms when Matteo Gabbia, assisted by Giroud, found the back of the net with a diving header before Serbia striker Jovic wrapped up the win.

The result sees AC Milan – in third – move to within four points of second-placed Juventus, having played one more game, while Serie A leaders Inter Milan have two games on hand over Stefano Pioli’s men.

There was a chance inside the first minute for Soule, who fired the ball over the crossbar, as the hosts piled on more pressure in the opening exchanges.

Yet it was the visitors who soon settled in and took the lead in the 17th minute, when Giroud connected with Rafael Leao’s pinpoint cross and cushioned the opener into the bottom right.

Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan had only just made his first save, tipping Demba Seck’s effort over the crossbar, when Leao was punished for a handball at the right edge of his side’s 18-yard box.

Milan protested, but the penalty was ultimately upheld after a VAR check and Soule stepped up to the spot and fired past Maignan, who moved in the right direction but could not make the stop.

The period with electric pace slowed only briefly when Giroud appeared to tweak his ankle but was deemed fit to continue and soon came painstakingly close to picking up an assist, his delivery across the face of goal from a tight angle narrowly evading both the head of Yacine Adli and a diving Leao.

The hosts wanted Christian Pulisic charged with another handball, but the penalty shout was waived off, and Tijjani Reijnders was unable to break the deadlock when he nodded straight at Stefano Turati.

The Frosinone goalkeeper was forced into a nervy save deep in first-half stoppage time, reacting quickly after Leao’s effort took a dangerous deflection off Caleb Okoli and flew dangerously toward the far corner – Turati just able to stretch his hand out for the stop.

The hosts took the lead in the 65th minute, Soule slipping the ball to Mazzitelli, who came up the middle before handing his side the advantage with a low finish.

The home support had barely finished celebrating when Adli, from a corner, sent a cross to Giroud, who nodded towards the ball in the direction of Gabbia, who drew the sides level with a diving header.

Pioli brought in Jovic for Christian Pulisic in the 80th minute, a decision that paid off instantly when the Serbia striker pounced on a loose ball that had bounced off grounded Frosinone defender Simone Romagnoli and fired home.

Napoli head coach Walter Mazzarri has stressed a Champions League place is still attainable for the Serie A title-holders as they prepare to host Hellas Verona on Sunday.

After winning a first Scudetto in 33 years last season under Luciano Spalletti, the Partenopei have had a significant drop off in a 2023-24 campaign that saw new boss Rudi Garcia replaced by Mazzarri in November.

Their nine league games since then have comprised three wins, two draws and four losses, and they are currently ninth in the table, four points behind fourth place.

Asked at a press conference if the Champions League spots remained a realistic objective for Napoli, Mazzarri said: “I don’t look at the table for my own reasons.

“But it’s clear that there are many teams within three to four points, and therefore the objective is possible.”

Since starting the calendar year with a 3-0 loss at Torino, Napoli – still without star striker Victor Osimhen due to international duty with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations – have won 2-1 at home against Salernitana, beaten Fiorentina 3-0, lost 1-0 to AC Milan in the Supercoppa Italiana and drawn 0-0 at Lazio in their return to league action last weekend.

Mazzarri said: “In the last few games we created little, for various reasons, also due to the strength of the opponents, but we returned solid and balanced, after the very bad performance in Torino.

“It’s clear that we will need to be more aggressive and proactive to create scoring opportunities, perhaps even shooting from outside, because we can’t always enter the area with triangles and penetrations.

“This week we are also working on this aspect and I think we will see the results.”

Napoli face a Verona outfit who went into the weekend just outside the relegation zone, and who brought in a trio of players on transfer deadline day – Stefan Mitrovic, Karol Swiderski and Fabien Centonze.

Boss Marco Baroni told a press conference ahead of the trip to Stadio Diego Armando Maradona: “We need points, but we have to start from the performance.

“These are complicated and difficult stadiums, where we must not be afraid. We will have to play a match of personality, having great respect for the opponent.

“These are teams against which you have to be very careful within the performance. We will need to be compact, focused, and help each other on the pitch.”

Inter Milan manager Simone Inzaghi insists Sunday’s clash with Juventus will not be decisive in the Serie A title race.

Italy’s top two clubs do battle at the San Siro with only one point separating the sides and the winner guaranteed to finish the weekend at the summit.

It will be leaders Inter’s first match at home in a month after two away trips were sandwiched by Super Cup success in Saudi Arabia and they could take a big step towards a first title since 2021 with all three points.

“Tomorrow’s match is very important, but not decisive,” Inzaghi told a press conference.

“It will be very close, in the first leg (game) it was not an exciting match, but now we are playing at home in front of our fans and we will try to play a match in the best possible way.

“Juventus had a great journey, similar to ours, we are preparing as best we can .

“Both teams will have pressure, we must be happy to play this great match. There will be pressure as it should be, but we must be proud to play this challenge, we will have the push of the fans who we want to make happy.”

Inter have won 17 of their 21 Serie A matches and could open up a four-point gap at the top with a game in hand with victory over Juventus.

The first clash between the teams ended 1-1 back in November, but the hosts will be without former Juventus ace Juan Cuadrado due to injury.

Inzaghi added: “There has been a lot of talk about favourites, we are Inter and we know we have great responsibilities in every match.

“We have already played 30 very positive ones, in January we played five matches in 22 days, of which the last four were away from San Siro and we won a trophy.

“We have to look ahead though, we want to make this match ours. I wouldn’t make comparisons though, there are still four months to go and it’s not yet decisive.”

Inzaghi has won eight cups since becoming a manager, but not tasted Serie A success.

Opposite number Massimiliano Allegri has won six Scudettos, five of them during his first spell with Juventus.

However, Inzaghi, 47, played down suggestions the match will be decided by the two coaches, with Allegri winning nine of their 18 meetings.

 

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“I have great respect for Allegri. Fortunately we have won a lot with Juventus, even if we have also lost in recent years,” Inzaghi said.

“The challenge is not Inzaghi-Allegri, but Inter-Juventus. The protagonists are the players who go on the pitch to help their teams.

“Allegri has won a lot, he is a winning and expert coach. He is very practical, I like him a lot.

“I think I saw an excellent Juventus this year. They won 16 games out of 21. They were very good, to keep the Inter’s pace required a super team and they are proving to be one.”

Defiant AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has brushed off talk that Antonio Conte is being lined up to replace him.

Milan head into Saturday’s Serie A trip to Frosinone sitting in third place in the table but seven points adrift of Juventus in second and eight behind leaders Inter Milan, who have a game in hand on both.

The top two meet at the San Siro on Sunday evening, by which point Pioli’s men will hope to have closed the gap – although whether that would placate his critics is doubtful, with the club’s receding title hopes having been dealt a further blow by last weekend’s 2-2 home draw with Bologna.

Asked about the speculation linking former Italy boss Conte with his job, the 58-year-old told a press conference: “It doesn’t bother me at all. Maybe it bores me a little.

“What matters is that I and my players think we can do our best between now and the end of the season.

“The future doesn’t worry or bother me. We just want to demonstrate, the team and I, all our value.”

Milan will run out at the Stadio Benito Stirpe defending a seven-game unbeaten league run, with Atalanta the last side to beat them in the competition on December 9.

Wins over Monza, Sassuolo, Empoli, Roma and Udinese, coupled with draws against Salernitana and Bologna, since have helped them keep pace with Inter and Juve, if only just, but Pioli insists they simply have to concentrate on themselves as they attempt to claw back lost ground.

He said: “The season is still long and can give us further satisfaction. We have to put all our attention on the next match. Inter v Juve shouldn’t interest us.”

Frosinone will take to the field having halted a five-game losing run with a home victory over Cagliari followed by a draw at Verona, although the quality of the opposition this time around is significantly higher.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s men lost 3-1 at Milan on December 2 and have won only one of the eight league games they have played since.

Di Francesco will make late decisions on a lengthy list of injury doubts including Sergio Kalaj, Riccardo Marchizza, Anthony Oyono, Jaime Baez, Pol Lirola, Kevin Bonifazi, Mateus Lusuardi, Nadir Zortea, Marvin Cuni and Arijon Ibrahimovic.

Defiant AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has brushed off talk that Antonio Conte is being lined up to replace him.

Milan head into Saturday’s Serie A trip to Frosinone sitting in third place in the table but seven points adrift of Juventus in second and eight behind leaders Inter Milan, who have a game in hand on both.

The top two meet at the San Siro on Sunday evening, by which point Pioli’s men will hope to have closed the gap – although whether that would placate his critics is doubtful, with the club’s receding title hopes having been dealt a further blow by last weekend’s 2-2 home draw with Bologna.

Asked about the speculation linking former Italy boss Conte with his job, the 58-year-old told a press conference: “It doesn’t bother me at all. Maybe it bores me a little.

“What matters is that I and my players think we can do our best between now and the end of the season.

“The future doesn’t worry or bother me. We just want to demonstrate, the team and I, all our value.”

Milan will run out at the Stadio Benito Stirpe defending a seven-game unbeaten league run, with Atalanta the last side to beat them in the competition on December 9.

Wins over Monza, Sassuolo, Empoli, Roma and Udinese, coupled with draws against Salernitana and Bologna, since have helped them keep pace with Inter and Juve, if only just, but Pioli insists they simply have to concentrate on themselves as they attempt to claw back lost ground.

He said: “The season is still long and can give us further satisfaction. We have to put all our attention on the next match. Inter v Juve shouldn’t interest us.”

Frosinone will take to the field having halted a five-game losing run with a home victory over Cagliari followed by a draw at Verona, although the quality of the opposition this time around is significantly higher.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s men lost 3-1 at Milan on December 2 and have won only one of the eight league games they have played since.

Di Francesco will make late decisions on a lengthy list of injury doubts including Sergio Kalaj, Riccardo Marchizza, Anthony Oyono, Jaime Baez, Pol Lirola, Kevin Bonifazi, Mateus Lusuardi, Nadir Zortea, Marvin Cuni and Arijon Ibrahimovic.

AC Milan defender Marco Pellegrino has completed a loan move to Salernitana for the remainder of the season.

The 21-year-old Argentinian joined Milan’s struggling Serie A rivals a day after the move looked to have fallen through.

Pellegrino played for former club Platense until July last year before joining the Rossoneri, for whom he made his debut as a substitute in a 2-2 draw with Napoli in October, and was therefore deemed to have played for two clubs this season.

However, after reported talks with FIFA, both clubs announced the deal had gone through on deadline day.

A statement on Milan’s website on Thursday said: “AC Milan announces that Marco Pellegrino has signed for US Salernitana on loan until 30 June 2024. The club wishes Marco a great second half of the season.”

Salernitana’s statement said: “US Salernitana 1919 announces that it has reached an agreement with AC Milan for the temporary transfer until 30 June 2024 of defender Marco Pellegrino. The player will wear the number 24 shirt.”

Italy international Andrea Belotti has joined Fiorentina on loan from Serie A rivals Roma for the remainder of the season.

The 30-year-old striker, who has 44 senior caps and was a late substitute in his country’s Euro 2020 final victory over England, joined Roma from Torino in August 2022, but has made only six league starts this season.

A statement on Fiorentina’s official website said: “ACF Fiorentina is pleased to announce the signing of Andrea Belotti on loan from A.S. Roma.

“The striker, who was born in Calcinate on 20 December 1993, has amassed over 100 goals in Serie A for Palermo, Torino and Roma.

“Belotti has also turned out for the senior Italy team 44 times, netting 12 goals and winning Euro 2020.”

Belotti’s move was confirmed by Roma, who wished him luck with his new club.

A statement on their official website said: “AS Roma can confirm that forward Andrea Belotti has joined ACF Fiorentina on loan until 30 June 2024.

“Belotti joined the Giallorossi in the summer of 2022, going on to make 68 appearances for the club over the last two seasons.

“He has scored 10 goals for Roma, the first against Helsinki in the Europa League on 15 September 2022. Good luck, Andrea!”

Juventus have signed Southampton midfielder Carlos Alcaraz on loan for the rest of the season with an option to buy.

The 21-year-old Argentinian has scored four goals in 26 appearances for Saints this season, with Russell Martin’s side third in the Championship as they seek an immediate return to the Premier League.

Southampton director of football Jason Wilcox told the club website: “Allowing Charly to leave on loan was a decision that we have been deliberating on for some time.

“Considering the midfield options we have available to us right now, and Charly’s lack of game time, we wanted to allow him this chance to gain some valuable experience in one of the top leagues in Europe.

“Juventus are a huge club and we are convinced that this move will allow Charly the opportunity to flourish and then come back and be a success at Southampton.”

Massimiliano Allegri’s side sit second in Serie A, one point behind leaders Inter having played a game more.

Inter Milan’s fine season continued as they moved back to the Serie A summit after in-form Lautaro Martinez hit the only goal of the game to down Fiorentina.

It was a 22nd goal of the campaign for Martinez, who raced to the near-post to head home Kristjan Aslani’s 14th-minute corner.

Nico Gonzalez saw a second-half penalty saved as Inter secured the three points with a 1-0 win that extends their unbeaten run to 15 games.

Simone Inzaghi’s side have now 17 of their 21 Serie A games this season – equalling their previous record at this stage, set in 2006/07 under Roberto Mancini as they went on to win the league by 22 points.

Carlos Augusto thought he had given the visitors the lead with a close-range finish but was denied by brilliant defending by Davide Faraoni.

But Martinez would turn home the resulting corner, glancing a near-post header in after he had easily slipped the attention of his marker.

The Argentina World Cup winner had proved to be the match-winner last time out – his injury-time effort sealing a 1-0 win over Napoli in the Italian Super Cup final in Saudi Arabia.

Marcus Thuram could not sort his feet out when played through on goal as Inter looked to build on their lead before Yann Sommer made a fine stop to prevent Giacomo Bonaventura levelling for the home side.

Inter thought they had doubled their but had a goal ruled out for offside as Marko Arnautovic turned home from a Henrikh Mkhitaryan pass, only for the flag to go up against the Armenia international.

Fiorentina were handed a lifeline when they were awarded a controversial penalty following a lengthy VAR check for a foul against Sommer.

The Switzerland goalkeeper had punched away a cross but caught M’Bala Nzola in the face with his fist and the video assistant referee flagged the incident to the onfield official.

A spot-kick was duly awarded but Sommer would make amends as Gonzalez – on as a substitute as he returned from injury – hit a tame spot-kick that was easily saved.

It proved to be the best chance the hosts would have in attempting to rescue a result, while Inter moved back above Juventus to the summit.

Juve visit the San Siro next Sunday with just one point separating the two sides at the top of Serie A – the pair having drawn 1-1 in Turin earlier this season.

Lazio and Napoli played out a bore draw in their Serie A clash at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening.

Neither side could find a breakthrough and had to settle for a 0-0 draw which will not live long in the memory.

Lazio had a chance to draw level on points with fourth-placed Atalanta while Napoli missed the opportunity to leapfrog their hosts.

Gustav Isaksen missed a presentable early chance for Lazio, who thought they had taken the lead moments later.

Taty Castellanos controlled the ball on his chest before executing a perfect overhead kick and burying the chance – only for the offside flag to cancel out his wonderful finish.

Isaksen and Castellanos then combined, with the latter’s smart flick hooked away by Leo Ostigard when it looked destined for the back of the net.

Napoli saw a Gianluca Gaetano long-range shot fly wide as they struggled to create chances throughout the contest.

AC Milan blew their chance to put pressure on the two teams above them in Serie A as Riccardo Orsolini’s late penalty snatched a 2-2 draw for Bologna in an eventful clash at the San Siro.

The hosts missed two penalties of their own but still looked set to take the three points when Ruben Loftus-Cheek headed his second goal of the game with just seven minutes left on the clock.

Loftus-Cheek had earlier cancelled out an opener from Joshua Zirkzee, but Milan’s wasteful spot-kicks cost them with both Olivier Giroud and Theo Hernandez failing to convert for the third-placed side.

Play at the San Siro had been stopped in the 16th minute in support of Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who suffered racial abuse in their match at Udinese last weekend.

Fans lit up the stadium with smartphone torches while a quote from Martin Luther King – “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that” – was shown on a big screen.

Milan were intent on a fifth straight win to close the gap on city rivals Inter, and Rafael Leao had the first real chance in the 19th minute when he fired straight at Bologna keeper Lukasz Skorupski.

But the lively visitors were rewarded for their early ambition in the 29th minute when Zirkzee lashed home a loose ball after Milan failed to clear around the edge of their box.

Milan responded through Simon Kjaer who fired over the bar from a dangerous Christian Pulisic cross, then Pulisic himself missed an opportunity after being played in by Loftus-Cheek.

Milan were awarded their first penalty in the 39th minute for a foul by Lewis Ferguson on Kjaer, but Giroud missed his chance with a soft spot-kick that was comfortably gathered by Skorupski.

But the hosts’ frustrations only lasted six minutes before Loftus-Cheek raced onto a cross from the left to grab his third goal in his last four games.

Zirkzee had two good chances to put the visitors back in front, while Tijjani Reijnders hit the woodwork before the hosts amazingly squandered another spot-kick.

With Giroud having been substituted, Theo Hernandez stepped up, but hit the post after Riccardo Calafiori had been penalised for his challenge on Leao.

Milan finally grabbed the lead for the first time in the 83rd minute when Loftus-Cheek rose highest to head past Skorupski and seemingly set his side on their way to another three points.

But there was to be a final twist and after Victor Kristiansen came close to levelling, Bologna were awarded a penalty of their own on the stroke of full-time, which Orsolini showed the hosts how it was done with a firm low strike.

Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Italiano has challenged his side to put their Supercoppa Italiana disappointment behind them by giving Inter Milan plenty to think about when they return to Serie A action.

I Viola were beaten 3-0 by Napoli in the semi-finals of the new four-team tournament held in Saudi Arabia last week, which Inter went on to win.

Italiano feels his squad can regroup to kick-start their domestic campaign as they look to maintain a challenge to finish in the top four.

“We won’t hide the fact that we’re disappointed by what we could have achieved, even if the team did what they had to do, apart from the unrepresentative result,” Italiano said.

“Now we have to project ourselves into the league with the desire, the anger and the determination to have an important journey, where we want to score points and do well, this is the objective.”

Italiano told Fiorentina club media: “What we did in the first half (of the campaign), no one can take that away from us – but the second half is always a different season.

“We need to continue to have fuel and push, facing the matches with determination because the objectives become decisive for everyone.

“We want to continue this important path in the second half also because we are in an important spot in the table and we want to stay there.”

Inter will be out to move back to the top of the table and capitalise on Juventus’ surprise 1-1 draw at home to struggling Empoli after seeing Arkadiusz Milik receive an early red card.

Italiano, though, feels Fiorentina can cause problems for Simone Inzaghi’s side at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

“It is an important match for us, it will be difficult because Inter are doing good from all points of view,” he said.

“But we are playing at home and we had the opportunity to work throughout the week on our playing principles and think of something useful to put Inter in difficulty.

“I hope it was useful for tomorrow and we will be be ready to do battle against one of the strongest teams.”

Inter have a doubt over Alessandro Bastoni ahead of Sunday’s return to Serie A action.

The defender was left on the bench for the Supercoppa Italiana final against Napoli because of a muscle problem.

Inter midfielders Nicolo Barella and Hakan Calhanoglu will be unavailable through suspension, so Davide Frattesi and Kristjan Asllani are expected to be involved.

Ten-man Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw at home to struggling Empoli after losing Arkadiusz Milik to an early red card.

The Serie A leaders were a man down before the midway point of the first half when Milik, who had hit a hat-trick on his last start in a 4-0 Coppa Italia win over Frosinone two weeks ago, was sent off following a VAR review for a late studs-up challenge.

Dusan Vlahovic fired Juventus in front with his fifth goal in three games at the start of the second half, but Tommaso Baldanzi equalised for Empoli as the hosts’ seven-match winning run in all competitions came to an end.

Juventus went close after only six minutes as Vlahovic, who had scored a brace in each of his side’s last two games, forced Elia Caprile to tip his free-kick around a post.

But they were stunned after 18 minutes when his fellow striker Milik was sent off.

The Poland international was initially booked after appearing to catch Alberto Cerri high on the ankle with his studs when he slid in for a challenge, but the yellow was upgraded to red following a review.

Juventus were happy to sit back now they were a man down and Nicolo Cambiaghi saw a deflected effort saved by Wojciech Szczesny, who also comfortably dealt with Emmanuel Gyasi’s header.

The hosts had a golden chance to take a lead just before the break when Gyasi gifted the ball to Fabio Miretti, who burst through on goal but failed to hit the target.

However, they struck five minutes after the break.

Empoli failed to deal with a corner swung over from the right and the ball dropped for Vlahovic, who spun and slammed home a left-foot volley from close range.

The hosts threatened again when Vlahovic sent a pass into Andrea Cambiaso, who slipped when he looked set to run through on goal.

But second-bottom Empoli, the lowest scorers in the division, levelled in the 70th minute when substitute Baldanzi fired a long-range effort into the bottom corner.

The equaliser gave the visitors renewed belief and they pressed for a winner, with Szczesny forced to push away Cambiaghi’s effort.

But neither side could find one as Juventus had to settle for a two-point lead at the top of the table, although closest rivals Inter Milan have two games in hand.

Leander Dendoncker could be handed his debut for Napoli when they return to Serie A action against Lazio, but Victor Osimhen’s future looks set to be elsewhere next season.

Midfielder Dendoncker has joined the Partenopei on loan from Aston Villa for the rest of the season to bolster Walter Mazzarri’s options.

The defending Serie A champions continue to struggle for consistency, sitting down in ninth place, and were beaten by Inter in the Italian Supercoppa final in Riyadh, where Giovanni Simeone was sent off.

Nigeria international Osimhen is away on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Despite signing a contract extension which runs until June 2026 and is said to have a release clause of around £112million, last season’s Serie A top scorer continues to be linked with a move away.

Osimhen has already said he already has a plan on his “next step to do at the end of the season”.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed 25-year-old Osimhen was set to leave.

“We have known it since last summer – otherwise, the negotiation to extend would not have been so long,” De Laurentiis told Italian media.

“We already knew he would join Real Madrid, PSG or a Premier League club.”

Poland midfielder Piotr Zielinski is another player expected to leave Napoli in the summer, with Inter a reported likely destination.

Lazio were also involved in the Italian Super Cup, which was held in Saudi Arabia, and were beaten 3-0 by Inter in the semi-final.

Maurizio Sarri’s side return to Serie A action looking to keep up the pressure in the push for the European places.

Lazio will be without forward Mattia Zaccagni and captain Ciro Immobile through suspensions

Centre-back Patric has been carrying a shoulder problem, so Mario Gila could again come into the defence.

As well as missing Simeone, Napoli have Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Jens Cajuste serving suspensions.

Belgian forward Cyril Ngonge could feature following his recent move from Verona.

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri insists his side will face a “good challenge” when they take on struggling Empoli.

Juve are top of Serie A after losing just once in the competition all season and recording five straight wins following a 1-1 draw at Genoa in mid-December.

In contrast, Empoli are 19th in the table after four wins and four draws from 21 games, although their most recent match saw Szymon Zurkowski’s hat-trick secure a 3-0 win over Monza in Davide Nicola’s first game in charge.

“It’s an important match tomorrow,” Allegri told a pre-match press conference.

“We are well physically and mentally, but a good challenge awaits us too. Empoli deserves respect, they have quality players and coach Nicola’s arrival has given them solidity, so it won’t be an easy match.”

Juve can extend their lead over Inter Milan at the top of the table to four points on Saturday, with Simone Inzaghi’s side not in action until a trip to Fiorentina on Sunday.

The top two sides then meet at the San Siro on February 4 in a game which could go a long way to deciding the destiny of the Scudetto, although Allegri is not ruling out the challenge of AC Milan.

“After Inter-Juventus there are still many games to play, and let’s not forget Milan who scored more points than last year, have overcome a difficult period and can get back into the title race,” he added.

“The important thing is to stay balanced, keep the bar high and try to provide continuity.

“The Scudetto-winning points tally? It’s difficult to say right now, we’re up against a strong team in Inter who are favourites and have scored a lot of points. Being close to them is a great thing given that we’re on a different path.”

Federico Chiesa remains sidelined through injury and Allegri said he will decide whether to play or rest captain Danilo.

New signing Tiago Djalo has been assessed by the club’s medical staff after completing his move from Lille, the 23-year-old having not played since suffering an ACL injury last March.

“I feel good. My knee is fine,” Djalo said on Thursday. “Now it’s a question of opportunity. I’m ready. I’ll give everything for the team.

“I trained with the squad yesterday and this morning. My knee is recovering well. We’ll decide with the coach what to do. I’m very calm about it.

“I’ve come here to take an opportunity and make myself available to the coach. I know I have the attributes needed to help out. It’s just a matter of getting opportunities.”

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