Tensions high between Mihajlovic and fans

Tensions are running high between Fiorentina coach Sinisa Mihajlovic and a group of the club's supporters, with the next episode set for Sunday when they team visit Chievo in Serie A.

Leaders Juventus take their unbeaten record to Napoli on Sunday while struggling Inter Milan will attempt to bounce back from last weekend's loss at home to Juve when they visit Genoa.

Mihajlovic has been given the club's backing after he was jeered by a section of the crowd during last week's 1-0 win over Genoa, the hostile reaction including ethnic taunts against the former Yugoslavia international.

"The club cannot accept degrading behaviour, nor gratuitous vulgarity, aggravated by racism, and expresses its solidarity and support with Sinisa Mihajlovic, victim of shameful and intolerable attacks," Fiorentina said in a statement.

General manager Vincenzo Guerini added his own appeal: "I appeal to the Fiesole Curva to stop the jeering and offensive chanting against Mihajlovic.

"There was a sad atmosphere after the Genoa game, as if we had lost the match... those insults are not part of our history."

Italian media said there had been a slight thaw in the tension on Wednesday with fans leaving a banner at the club headquarters apologising for the insults - although they still reserved the right to criticise the coach with Fiorentina down in 10th after a poor season last term.

"We argue with the coach but we respect you as a man," said the banner. In return, Mihajlovic agreed to open up a practice match to the public.


Mihajlovic, who had a notoriously short fuse as a player, took over at Fiorentina at the start of last season when Cesare Prandelli left to take charge of the Italian national side.

The former Catania and Bologna coach managed a ninth place in his first season and his side have made an uninspiring start this term, with three wins, three draws and three defeats.

However, it is his team's perceived lack of adventure which upsets the supporters as much as their results.

Juventus coach Antonio Conte once again finds himself under pressure to include talismanic Alessandro Del Piero in the side for the visit to erratic Napoli.

The 36-year-old has not started any of Juve's last six matches since being substituted at halftime in the match against Bologna, making only fleeting late appearances from the bench.

Juventus lead with 19 points from nine games, one point ahead Udinese and Lazio who are both at home, against Siena and Parma respectively on Sunday.

In-form Milan, a further point behind after four wins in a row, host Catania without suspended midfield pair Kevin-Prince Boateng and Antonio Nocerino, who have both scored hat-tricks in recent games.

They also have to come to terms with the absence of striker Antonio Cassano, due to face heart surgery and out of several months.