AC Milan aim to continue good form
A look ahead to this weekend's action in the Italian Serie A.
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AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani does not expect to get much sleep before the weekend with the second Milan derby of the Serie A season promising another dramatic night at the San Siro.
After making their worst start to a league campaign in decades, a troubling period that was punctuated by a 1-0 defeat to city rivals Inter in October, Milan are now arguably Europe's form team.
The Rossoneri have swept into third place on a run of 10 wins from 12 and suddenly a top-two finish is a distinct possibility for Massimiliano Allegri's men.
Milan's confidence was then given a priceless boost ahead of the derby when Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari helped their team to a 2-0 Champions League victory over Barcelona at a packed San Siro.
Galliani told La Repubblica: "I struggled to sleep on Wednesday night, but I feel that same level of adrenaline after league games too.
"I've got football fever and just like the players I'm going to keep on thinking about what I've just seen over and over again in my mind. And that suits me just fine.
"Barcelona have phenomenal players. The coach's plan was to contain them and the plaudits go to him for guessing what they would do, with all the players showing incredible character."
Inter, though, are slipping out of the race for a Champions League place for next season and suffered a demoralising 4-1 defeat at Fiorentina last weekend.
"This Inter side was too ugly to be true, but I think it's possible to experience a heavy defeat like this in the league," head coach Andrea Stramaccioni said after the match.
"We absolutely have to recover, but I'll say again that other teams have suffered heavy losses this season, and it's all about how you react to them."
Victory over Milan on Sunday, should it arrive against current expectations, would mean the Nerazzurri had claimed four straight derby wins for the first time since 1974.
Resurgent Siena, meanwhile, face their toughest challenge yet as they visit league leaders Juventus.
The Tuscans' latest head coach, Giuseppe Iachini, has registered three wins from his five games in charge, culminating in a remarkable 3-0 victory over Lazio that gave Siena real hope they could escape the bottom three.
Lazio will hope to atone for that embarrassing defeat with a positive result against Pescara, who are without a win in six, while bottom side Palermo face 17th-placed Genoa in a relegation six-pointer on Saturday night.
Title hopefuls Napoli travel north to Udinese looking to chip away at Juve's lead having dropped valuable points against Lazio and Sampdoria in recent weeks.
Samp bid to go five games unbeaten at the expense of Chievo, while Cagliari have been permitted to host mid-table Torino behind closed doors at the Is Arenas despite an ongoing investigation into the legality of the stadium.
Elsewhere, the battle for a Europa League berth is heating up with Catania plotting to squeeze into the top six with victory over an out-of-sorts Parma side, as Roma travel to mid-table Atalanta while Bologna host Fiorentina at the Renato Dall'Ara.