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Back To Serie A for Champions League Losers

Inter Milan, Roma and Juventus will have to put European heartbreak swiftly behind them as they turn their attention back to domestic action this weekend.

All three Italian teams were knocked out of the Champions League by English opposition this week in the last 16.

Inter, who were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United, currently hold a seven-point advantage at the top of the table over Juve, and coach Jose Mourinho is confident his team will push on to clinch the Scudetto.

On Sunday they face a Fiorentina side equally as desperate for victory.

Club owner Diego Della Valle publicly slammed the team following their 2-0 home defeat to Palermo last weekend – a match which saw them booed off – and crisis talks were held this week with their bid for fourth place and a Champions League berth looking very much in danger.

However, striker Adrian Mutu insists they are a better team than they are being given credit for and believes they will prove it on Sunday evening.

“What was said on Tuesday in the dressing room is a personal matter,” he said. “As regards to last Sunday’s game I think we are the first to be angry. We are disappointed but there are still 11 games left. It was a bit of a blackout which can happen. We are men and we will prove that to our critics. Fiorentina deserve fourth place and so we will get it. To everyone, even to our owner, I say to them come see us play on Sunday against Inter. It’s the most difficult game but if we give a good performance, if we get a good result, that will all turn things around. Some of us might be scared of not reaching fourth place but I’m not scared of that and I will try to set an example.”

Juventus will be hoping for any slip up from Inter, knowing that they can close the gap to four points as they welcome Serie A strugglers Bologna to the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.

The Bianconeri put on a sterling performance in midweek but lost out to Chelsea 3-2 on aggregate and they will have to recover quickly with Bologna set to pose a tricky test.

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side might be 30 points behind Juve and just two points off the relegation zone, but they are fighting for their lives and defeated in-form Sampdoria 3-0 last weekend.

Roma face the greatest disappointment as they were eliminated 7-6 on penalties by Arsenal and Luciano Spalletti will have to rouse his injury-stricken side when they travel to Samp on Sunday bidding to snatch fourth spot from Fiorentina, who are just a point above them in the standings.

AC Milan are currently in third place and a European hangover by Juventus and Inter would throw them right back into the title race if they beat 15th-placed Siena on Sunday.

Napoli’s trip to bottom side Reggina marks former Italy coach Roberto Donadoni’s first time back in the dugout since the Azzurri’s disappointing Euro 2008 campaign after he replaced the sacked Edy Reja this week.

Luigi De Canio also returns to work for the first time since the summer and he will be in charge of Lecce, who are only a place above Reggina, when they travel to Palermo.

Chievo occupy the other relegation spot, although they are level on points with Torino, and they face a tricky trip to Lazio who have pushed up the table following three victories on the trot.

Toro travel to Atalanta. Elsewhere on Sunday, Udinese welcome Catania while Cagliari play host to Genoa on Saturday.

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