Serie A Preview: Fiorentina, Inter eager to firm up continental hopes
By Football News
After stuttering recently, Fiorentina and Inter can get back on track this weekend as they seek to secure UEFA Europa League qualification.
The sides sitting fourth and fifth respectively in Serie A have each suffered dips in form of late.
Fiorentina have won just two of their last eight league matches, while Inter are winless in three and boast only two victories in seven.
However, after sixth-placed Parma suffered a 4-2 defeat at Roma on Wednesday, both Fiorentina and Inter will be eager to cement their top-five slots.
Inter welcome struggling Bologna to San Siro on Saturday and Vincenzo Montella's men host an Udinese side that appear all but safe from relegation the following day.
Fiorentina were beaten by Milan in their last home game and then drew 0-0 with Sampdoria last time out.
Inter have arguably displayed even more frustrating form, however, losing to in-form Atalanta before dropping further points in draws with Udinese and Livorno.
Their failure to claim victory at the Stadio Armando Picchi came about after a lapse in concentration from Fredy Guarin, who played a catastrophic backpass that enabled Innocent Emeghara to pull Livorno level at 2-2 five minutes from time.
Despite seeing his side give up a two-goal lead, Inter coach Walter Mazzarri did his best to remain positive.
"Those of you who saw the match realise it's one of those years, it needs to be looked at in a certain way," he said.
"Let's try to take the good points out of it, the character we showed until - perhaps unconsciously - the lads thought the game was over."
Parma face another tricky test on Sunday against Napoli, with Atalanta and Lazio - in seventh and eighth - also holding out hope of earning Europa League football.
There is unlikely to be drama in the battle for UEFA Champions League places.
Despite suffering a rare defeat against Napoli last time out, champions Juventus boast an 11-point advantage at the summit and both Roma and Napoli are some way clear of Fiorentina.
In what could be a defining week at the bottom, Livorno and Sassuolo have tough away games at Juve and Atalanta.
Chievo, two points above the drop zone in 16th, host Verona and rock-bottom Catania welcome Torino to the Stadio Angelo Massimino.
Cagliari look all but safe from the drop ahead of their clash with Roma while Clarence Seedorf's Milan will hope to build on their recent upturn in form when they take on Genoa.
Lazio face Sampdoria in the other fixture this weekend.