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Football | Italy

AC Milan © Action Images

AC Milan looking for Parma win



AC Milan would like a comfortable victory at home to Parma in the Serie A on Friday to ease into one of their toughest weeks of the season.

Massimiliano Allegri's men face Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday before another expected heated derby against Inter Milan the following Sunday.

Both sides are fighting for third, with Milan trailing fourth-placed Inter by two points.

Lazio is a point further ahead and it faces struggling Siena on Monday.

"The league is a race with 38 rounds, each of which counts for three points," Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said. "The Champions League is different as you have to give the maximum to get to the next round.

"Sometimes newspapers over-hype games: They are all worth three points, even the ones against Inter and Lazio coming up. To get third place we need to pick up points and see where it gets us."

Juventus triumphed 3-0 at Celtic in the Champions League on Tuesday and they will be looking to cap an impressive week at Roma on Saturday. Second-placed Napoli host Sampdoria on Sunday.

Milan could decide to rest top goal-scorer Stephan El Shaarawy ahead of the Barcelona match. The young striker is Milan's most used player this season, having played over 2,000 minutes for the club.

El Shaarawy came off in the draw against Cagliari with a knee injury.

Mario Balotelli, who is cup-tied having played for Manchester City in the Champions League this season, will be looking to add to his tally of three goals - including two penalties - in two games.

"At the moment, we really need the support of the fans," Allegri said. "Tomorrow's game will also allow us to catch up, albeit momentarily, with Lazio.

"We'll see how El Shaarawy is doing today, we have to try and get him back as quickly as possible. It's unthinkable that he would have gone on scoring goals at the rate he has done so far. Thirty goals a season is an impossible target for a 20-year-old. Now he has to stay calm, it's his most difficult time, and he's under a lot of pressure."

Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini is suspended.

Parma are winless in their past five matches.

Inter visit Fiorentina on Sunday, hoping they have turned a negative run around after beating Chievo Verona 3-1 to pick up their second win in eight league matches.

Fiorentina have only won once in their past six matches and lost 2-0 at Juventus last weekend.

"Our main mistake was perhaps trying to do too much individually," midfielder David Pizarro said. "We want to bounce back against Inter but to do that we'll need to produce a great team effort.

"Winning against them will really help us believe in ourselves again."

Lazio have also been in poor form of late, after going on a run of 16 matches without defeat in all competitions. They will be boosted by last weekend's draw against title rival Napoli.

They face a Siena side who are four points adrift of safety, but have picked up wins in their past two home matches, including a surprise 3-1 victory over Inter.

Juventus will be hoping to provisionally extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points as they play Roma a day before Napoli's match against Samp.

It would take a shock of epic proportions for Juventus to fail to progress to the Champions League quarterfinals, and Antonio Conte's men can refocus on the league.

"It was a fantastic team performance and a key win," Claudio Marchisio said. "We're not through yet but taking a 3-0 lead back to Italy means we can concentrate a bit more on the league.

"We've sent out a message tonight, to ourselves more than anything: If we maintain our focus as we did today and in our last two Serie A games, we can go on to achieve great things."

Marchisio is suspended for the Roma match.

Roma interim coach Aurelio Andreazzoli will be hoping for a better second match in charge, after kicking off his reign with a 3-1 defeat against Sampdoria.

Also on Saturday, Chievo host bottom club Palermo.

Elsewhere on Sunday, it's: Catania vs. Bologna; Genoa vs. Udinese; Pescara vs. Cagliari; and Torino vs. Atalanta.

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