Roma coach Rudi Garcia has called for focus ahead of AC Milan’s visit to the Olympic Stadium on Friday as Serie A leaders Juventus look to inch closer to securing a third consecutive scudetto.
With an eight-point deficit to the Turin giants and four games remaining, Roma remain mathematically in contention for their first league title since 2001.
But with Juventus expected to prevail on their visit to struggling Sassuolo on Monday, four days after a 2-1 defeat away to Benfica in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final, the writing appears to be already on the wall.
Victories for both Roma and Juventus in their respective matches this weekend would give Garcia’s challengers even less chance of causing an upset in the last three games, during which Juve face Atalanta, Roma and Cagliari.
Garcia, whose side face Catania, Juve and Genoa in the run-in, admitted: “Maybe it will be over by this weekend, but maybe it won’t.”
Roma are already assured of second place and Serie A’s second automatic Champions League spot for next season.
And after underlining the need for “reinforcements” if his side are to challenge both at home and in Europe next season, Garcia called for focus against a Milan side enjoying a resurgence under coach Clarence Seedorf.
Napoli, in third, sit 10 points ahead of Fiorentina and can secure the third and last Champions League spot with a win away at Inter on Sunday.
But having missed out on Europe this season, fifth-placed Inter, like Milan, are desperate for European action next season and host Rafael Benitez’s side with a five-point lead on Parma and their city rivals, in seventh.
Milan will also host Inter next week in what is being billed as a Europa League clincher, but before then striker Rodrigo Palacio insisted on Inter Channel: “Before that we have Napoli, which is another difficult match.”
The Inter v Napoli fixture will pit Palacio against compatriot Gonzalo Higuain, who is vying with another Argentine, Carlos Tevez, for the top scorer’s award.
Torino striker Ciro Immobile sits top on 20 goals, with Tevez tied for second with Luca Toni on 18 and Higuain fourth on 17, two ahead of Palacio.
Roma v Milan (1845 GMT)
Bologna v Fiorentina (1600), Inter v Napoli (1845)
Verona v Catania (1030), Cagliari v Parma, Livorno v Lazio, Sampdoria v Chievo, Torino v Udinese (all 1300), Atalanta v Genoa (1845)
Sassuolo v Juventus (1845)