Ferrara refuses to quit Juventus

MILAN - Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara said he believed he would stay in his job after a 3-0 defeat at home to AC Milan on Sunday all but ended their Serie A title hopes.

Third-placed Juve have now slipped 12 points behind leaders Inter Milan at the halfway stage of the season and the loss was met by minor trouble inside and outside the stadium in Turin.

Their fourth defeat in five matches in all competitions, including their Champions League exit to Bayern Munich in December, has led to renewed media speculation that Juve are lining up Russia coach Guus Hiddink to replace Ferrara.

When asked if he had considered resigning, the 42-year-old told Sky TV: "I am not made like that. My way is to try to change things.

"I sincerely think my job is not at risk. Of course we are in a negative period but it's not for me to make the decisions. Any decisions will be accepted."

The former Juve defender took charge for two games at the end of last season after the surprise sacking of Claudio Ranieri and impressed enough to be given the role full time despite his lack of managerial experience.

Juve, still recovering from a demotion for match-fixing in 2006, spent heavily in the close season but Brazilians Diego and Felipe Melo have been big flops so far.

A flurry of injuries, including a knock to midfielder Christian Poulsen on Sunday which could delay Tiago's planned loan move to Atletico Madrid, have also not helped Ferrara.

"I obviously understand the disappointment (of the fans). Our aim is to try to find the enthusiam there was at the start of the season," he added.

Milan's Leonardo, another coach in his first proper season in charge, was overjoyed to emerge as Inter's only real title rivals thanks to two goals from Ronaldinho.

The in-form Rossoneri, eight behind Inter with a game in hand, had big problems in Leonardo's first months in the job and he told friend Ferrara not to give up.

"It was a difficult game, even if it didn't seem like that," the Brazilian said. "Juve are in a situation similar to us in October, it seems like everything is going wrong. I say to Ciro that it can sort itself out."

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