Mouthy Mourinho may have sounded off too soon
There's little point in Juventus, AS Roma and AC Milan taking to the pitch this weekend if we are to believe a word Jose Mourinho has to say.
During his seven-minute party-piece on Tuesday, the Portuguese pitbull dismissed his rivals as also-rans in the title race, although he have been speaking too soon.
HeÃ¢ÂÂs now threatened never to speak to the press again, so we can expect an almighty sulk, not only from the sanctions he faces from the football powers that be, but also if InterÃ¢ÂÂs title procession hits the buffers.
"Oh dear Lord what have I done..."
The Nerazzurri can just about kiss goodbye to the Italian Cup after Nelson Rivas played his part in handing Sampdoria a comfortable 3-0 lead to take into the second leg.
There was plenty of sniggering after that result, but that will be nothing compared to the unbridled glee throughout most of the country that will greet a pounding at Old Trafford.
Talk is cheap, as they say, and no doubt Inter need to start doing their talking on the pitch. Their problem is that, unlike Roma or Milan, they are not a flamboyant bunch Ã¢ÂÂ more inclined to the regimented and physical approach.
Apart from the odd moment of the unexpected from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, winning ugly has been the order of the day.
All this negativity bouncing off the walls inside the camp could well be their undoing. Generally speaking, on the home front, Serie A players do not react well to a siege mentality, preferring to be feted and adored by one and all.
Inter heads drop after stuffing at Sampdoria
The coachÃ¢ÂÂs tirade certainly seemed to rattle some of the players in the cup game, and the champs, who are back in action against a Genoa side unbeaten at home this weekend, could end up looking like chumps in the Ligurian city for a second time.
All good news then for Juventus, who have the Turin derby to negotiate before they face Chelsea.
Toro coach Walter Novellino has stated that he would forego two monthsÃ¢ÂÂ salary for a derby win, but his money looks safe.
Claudio RanieriÃ¢ÂÂs men are grinding out results much in the manner of the Juve of old, and will no longer be clutching at straws if they can close that gap at the top to within five points with 11 games to go.
For the third Champions League hopeful, Roma, each day leading up to their return leg with Arsenal will be sheer torture.
Totti: Injured again (sigh)
If only they could skip playing Udinese and mothball the whole squad until next Wednesday, so much the better.
Francesco TottiÃ¢ÂÂs fragile knee will definitely be swathed in cotton wool in the hope that he will finally make headlines for his on-field exploits, rather than the all too often Ã¢ÂÂTotti to miss [insert name of team] match.Ã¢ÂÂ
All three teams will take to the pitch on Saturday, providing a few more precious hours of rest to benefit aching limbs, but being Italians itÃ¢ÂÂs not only their bodies that need to relax, itÃ¢ÂÂs their minds as well.
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