Sinisa Mihajlovic said it felt "wonderful" to be back on duty with Bologna after revealing his hospital stay proved mentally testing.

The Serbian head coach underwent leukaemia treatment at the Sant'Orsola hospital after tests set off what Mihajlovic described as "alarm bells".

Mihajlovic joked with journalists on Saturday that he could become a tour guide for the hospital after his coaching career, having spent so long there as a patient.

For now, the 53-year-old is glad to be involved in Serie A action again, with his team facing Venezia on Sunday.

Mihajlovic's team have been in excellent form in his absence, earning results against Milan, Juventus, Inter, and Roma during a six-match unbeaten run.

Greeting reporters on Saturday, Mihajlovic jokingly said: "I missed you too, you are a necessary evil. When you go through certain moments, you realise how much you miss even the things that you wouldn't imagine, like talking to you."

The former Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter star was first diagnosed with leukaemia in 2019 and underwent a bone marrow transplant in October of that year, returning to the Bologna dugout just six weeks later.

When he discovered a problem in March, former hard-man defender Mihajlovic said the leukaemia was "very courageous in returning to face an opponent like me".

Speaking of his hospital experience on Saturday, Mihajlovic said: "This time it was tougher from a mental point of view. Due to COVID [restrictions], I had to be alone all the time. I only saw my wife for three hours in a day."

In his absence, he was named Serie A coach of the month for April in a gesture of support from league chiefs.

"To spend time on the pitch again has been wonderful," Mihajlovic said. "These are emotions that unfortunately I have already experienced. Health makes you enjoy life, but illness makes you understand its meaning well.

"The family – both the blood one, but also my players – have given me strength thanks to technology.

"I take this opportunity to thank the team, club, staff, doctors and nurses who have always been close to me. I feel at home now at Sant'Orsola. When I stop coaching I'll be a tourist guide in the hospital."

Sinisa Mihajlovic has been discharged from hospital "in good condition" after undergoing further leukaemia treatment, Bologna have announced.

The Serbian coach, who enjoyed an illustrious playing career in Serie A with the likes of Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter, was first diagnosed with the disease in 2019 and underwent a bone marrow transplant in October 2019, returning to the Bologna dugout just six weeks later.

Mihajlovic revealed in late March that routine tests had discovered "some alarm bells", leading him to step back from hands-on coaching duties for an unspecified amount of time and to declare "this disease is very courageous in returning to face an opponent like me."

An encouraging social media update from his club announced the news of Mihajlovic's exit from hospital on Monday.

"Sinisa Mihajlovic was today discharged from the Sant'Orsola Hospital, in good condition. Forza Mister, we are with you," read the tweet from Bologna's official account.

Mihajlovic's team have been in excellent form in Serie A of late, earning results against each of Milan, Juventus, Inter, and Roma during a six-match unbeaten run, with the 53-year-old receiving a surprise visit from his squad after they beat the title-chasing Nerazzurri 2-1 in dramatic fashion last week.

Simeone Inzaghi expects the Serie A title race to provide more surprises as Inter look to chase down rivals Milan, although he admits the Nerazzurri camp was in low spirits after a loss to Bologna.

Despite scoring their fastest goal of the Serie A season to take the lead at Bologna when Ivan Perisic found the net after 2 minutes and 53 seconds, Inter fell to a 2-1 defeat after goals from Marko Arnautovic and Nicola Sansone, leaving them two points adrift of the Rossoneri.  

The Nerazzurri had been unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions prior to the defeat, and it represented their first league loss at bottom-half opponents since January 2021. 

Inter will now require at least one slip-up from Stefano Pioli's team in order to retain the title, and although Inzaghi acknowledges Wednesday's defeat was a deflating result, he believes there are more twists to come.

"The mood was not the best, the disappointment has been strong," Inzaghi said. "In these days, however, I have seen an excellent team spirit, they want to believe until the end. 

"Every match will be tough for everyone, at the end of the season we will do the count. We will try to give satisfaction to the fans after doing it [winning a trophy] with the Super Cup [which Inter lifted in January].

"When you lose games, you always make mistakes. In Bologna we had to be more clinical in the first half, and we didn't succeed. 

"Winning would have given us primacy and instead we have to chase. With my staff we can [only] affect ourselves: every Sunday there are surprises and there are still four games to go.

"In Bologna we didn't have to finish the first half level, we needed more goals given the many opportunities we created. Now, anything can happen."

Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic started on the bench at Bologna after struggling with a back injury, and remains a doubt for the clash with Udinese on Sunday.

Ionut Radu started in the place of Handanovic, who has kept 14 clean sheets and recorded a save percentage of 77.39 per cent in Serie A this term, but gifted Bologna's Sansone a last-gasp winner after failing to control a back-pass. 

Although Inzaghi did not rule out a return for Handanovic against Udinese, he reiterated his confidence in Radu.

"He [Handanovic] has an important problem, today he has done a partial customized training and there is some hope. Tomorrow we will see, he will try," Inzaghi added.

"[If not], for sure Radu will play, he has my utmost confidence and I think he will have an important career ahead of him even though he has played very little this year."

Inter coach Simone Inzaghi backed his side to respond from defeat at Bologna but conceded the Scudetto race is out of the Nerazzurri's hands.

Milan returned to the Serie A summit with victory at Lazio on Sunday and Inter initially made a positive response when Ivan Perisic struck after just two minutes and 53 seconds at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on Wednesday. 

That was the Nerazzurri's fastest league strike of the season but Marko Arnautovic equalised against his former club with his 13th league goal this term, his best tally in a single campaign in Europe's top five leagues.

A costly Ionut Radu error was then punished by substitute Nicola Sansone with nine minutes remaining as Inter dropped ground in the Scudetto race, the 2-1 defeat leaving them two points behind Milan with four games left.

Milan also have a superior head-to-head record against their neighbours and Inzaghi acknowledged that the title destination is no longer in his team's control.

"Now it is difficult but I know I have a team of great men who will do everything to end this championship well. Now we are no longer masters of our destiny," he told reporters after the game.

While appreciating the dent to Inter's title hopes after defeat at Bologna, who had previously not beaten Inter at home in 15 Serie A attempts, Inzaghi is refusing to give up hope.

"There are four games left, we have seen that it was a championship of surprises and games played to the end," he added. 

"There are still 12 points up for grabs and anything can happen."

Inzaghi was quick to defend Radu for his mistake when failing to control Perisic's pass that led to Sansone's winner, in what was the goalkeeper's first Serie A appearance of the season due to the injury of first-choice Samir Handanovic.

"There is disappointment as it is normal for there to be after a game lost in this way," he told DAZN. "The mood was not the best, Radu made a mistake like I or a striker and a midfielder can.

"When a goalkeeper makes a mistake, everything is highlighted more. Now we have to react to a burning defeat, facing one game at a time knowing that we are no longer masters of our destiny."

Inter will look to respond in their Scudetto push when they visit Udinese on Sunday.

Nicola Sansone scored a late winner as Inter relinquished their grasp on the Scudetto and failed to return to the Serie A summit after a 2-1 defeat at Bologna on Wednesday.

Milan regained top spot in the league with late victory at Lazio on Sunday and Inter made a good response in their game in hand at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara when Ivan Perisic struck after just three minutes.

Marko Arnautovic restored parity against his former side 25 minutes later, though, and Sansone profited from an Ionut Radu mistake with nine minutes remaining to seal an unlikely victory.

Defeat left Inter two points behind leaders Milan with four games left to play as the neighbours battle for the title.

Perisic blasted Inter into an early lead in expert fashion, nutmegging Musa Barrow before powering a left-footed thunderbolt into the top-right corner.

A stinging drive from Federico Dimarco tested Lukasz Skorupski, before Lautaro Martinez wastefully fired over a presentable rebound to double the lead.

Arnautovic then levelled things up by heading Barrow's left-wing cross into the bottom-right corner, while Denzel Dumfries spurned a headed chance from Perisic's centre at the other end.

Dimarco blazed over after the interval and twice tamely found Skorupski's hands when unmarked from the edge of the area, before the Bologna goalkeeper denied Milan Skriniar's goal-bound header.

Inzaghi sent on forwards Edin Dzeko and Alexis Sanchez in search of a late winner, but it was starting striker Martinez who headed over Hakan Calhanoglu's corner.

Radu then handed Bologna victory as he missed a simple Perisic pass backwards, with Sansone converting a simple tap in to punish the Inter goalkeeper.

What does it mean? Inter falter in Scudetto charge

Reigning champions Inter were unbeaten in 15 previous visits to Bologna in Serie A and dominated once more but were punished for failing to make their dominance pay against Miroslav Tanjga's side.

Indeed, the visitors fired 26 shots to Bologna's five, but the profligate nature of the Nerazzurri came back to haunt Simone Inzaghi's side. Inter will now have to rely on leaders Milan slipping up in their last four games to overturn the two-point deficit.

Awesome Arnautovic

Arnautovic came back to thwart his former side, with his first-half header dragging Bologna back into the contest.

The Austria international has scored 13 goals in Serie A this season, his highest tally in a single campaign across Europe's top five leagues.

Miserable Martinez

Martinez had scored four goals in three games across all competitions, including a Coppa Italia semi-final brace against Milan on Tuesday, but failed to leave his mark at Bologna.

The Argentina international squandered a great first-half opening, one of a game-high six shots he attempted, though the striker only found the target with one of those.

What's next?

Inter will look to respond in their title charge when they visit Udinese on Sunday, while Bologna travel to Roma on the same day.

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri acknowledged the Bianconeri's slim title hopes were over despite Dusan Vlahovic's dramatic late equaliser against Bologna.

The Serbian striker scored the 50th goal of his Serie A career five minutes into stoppage time to spare the blushes of the Turin giants, who were on course for an embarrassing loss despite Adama Soumaoro and Gary Medel receiving late red cards for Bologna after Marko Arnautovic's second-half opener.

The result marked the first time Juventus have failed to defeat Bologna since February 2016 and left Allegri's men eight points behind league leaders Milan with just five games remaining, as their hopes of a 10th Scudetto in 11 seasons faded.

Juventus failed to register a single shot on target during a dismal first-half showing, the fifth time they have done so during Allegri's first season back at the helm but first since facing Fiorentina in November.

The 54-year-old insisted after the draw that the Bianconeri were embroiled in a four-way battle for Champions League football rather than the title race, acknowledging his team needed to show more patience against a stubborn Bologna defence. 

"This year Juve is not fighting for the Scudetto," Allegri said. "We had gotten close to Inter, even until today, when we stopped. 

"In football, however, anything could happen. Reaching fourth place remains an important goal. I think Fiorentina have a good calendar and a direct match against us. Then there are also Lazio and Roma.

"We take one step at a time. In football you think one thing and another happens. We have to be calmer. The games last a long time and there is always time to win them."

Juventus hold a lead of six points over fifth-placed Roma in the Serie A table, having played one extra game ahead of the Giallorossi facing Napoli on Monday.

Allegri refused to criticise his team for a below-bar display, however, suggesting they would have lost the same game had it occurred at the start of the season.

"We managed to equalise a match that had become complicated after playing a bad first half," he added. "Immediately [after conceding] we hit the post and shot more on goal. 

"Lately we have conceded too many goals, we need to improve, but we would have lost these games at the beginning of the season. Let's look at the glass half full."

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci also rued the Old Lady's lack of patience when faced with breaking down their opponents, as Bologna avoided defeat at Juventus for the first time since September 2011.

"We tried to push and put pressure on after the equaliser," the 34-year-old said. "With more clarity we could also have scored the second goal, given their numerical inferiority. 

"It was a pity because three points could have given us so much."

With Juve seemingly out of the Serie A title race, their last hope of silverware this season is the Coppa Italia, in which they host Fiorentina on Wednesday after winning their semi-final first leg 1-0.

Dusan Vlahovic netted a stoppage-time equaliser as Juventus rescued a 1-1 draw against nine-man Bologna in Turin, though the result still dealt a severe blow to their slender title hopes. 

Juve failed to create clear-cut chances during a dismal first-half display before Marko Arnautovic's goal put Bologna ahead.

Yet the match sparked into life in the final stages when Adama Soumaoro and Gary Medel both received red cards amid remarkable scenes.

Juve made their numerical advantage count when Vlahovic nodded in on the line from Alvaro Morata's acrobatic attempt to salvage a point that leaves them eight behind Serie A leaders Milan.

Massimiliano Allegri has told Juventus they require at least 10 points from their remaining six games to clinch a Champions League place as Dusan Vlahovic targets a landmark goal.

If Vlahovic scores against Bologna on Saturday, the former Fiorentina striker will reach 50 goals in his Serie A career at the age of 22 years and 78 days old.

In Italian top-flight history, only one foreign player has reached 50 at a younger age, with Alexandre Pato doing so with Milan at 21 years and 220 days.

That gives context to Serbian Vlahovic's performance to date, with five of his goals having come in his first nine league games for Juventus.

Juventus sit just six points behind league leaders Milan, having last had a shorter gap to top spot after matchday two, but a defeat to Inter two weeks ago has probably ended their title hopes.

This is why Allegri is focusing on making sure of a fourth-place finish. A five-point cushion over fifth-placed Roma suggests Juventus should achieve that objective, but Allegri is demanding sharp focus.

There have been disappointments in his reign to date, including a Champions League last-16 exit to Villarreal and a Supercoppa Italiana loss to Inter, so there will be no early celebrations from Juventus.

"Bologna drew at San Siro against Milan and won the last match [2-0 against Sampdoria]. We have to be careful," Allegri said, "there are six games left between now and the end of the championship.

"We still need 10 points to get into the Champions League. I am satisfied with how the team have grown and how we are working. We have started a path, even if I am sorry about how we came out of the Champions League and how we lost the Supercoppa Italiana.

"The team have been doing well for several months now, but we have reached the crucial moment of the season and we must reach the minimum goal, which is fourth place, by.trying to score as many points as possible."

 

Juventus have a Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against Fiorentina coming up on Wednesday, with Allegri's side holding a 1-0 lead.

"We will think about the Coppa Italia from the day after tomorrow," Allegri said.

However, that game is already somewhat in his thoughts, with Allegri saying he will choose either Leonardo Bonucci or Giorgio Chiellini in central defence against Bologna, but will not pick both, given the importance of the Fiorentina game.

Vlahovic is a confirmed starter, and Allegri said: "I hope he can become the top scorer in the league."

Heading into the weekend, Vlahovic has 22 goals for the season, two fewer than top scorer Ciro Immobile of Lazio.

Juventus have won each of their last 11 Serie A games against Bologna, scoring 26 goals in this run, and at home they have put together eight successive league wins against Saturday's opponents.

Milan dropped potentially crucial points in their bid to win Serie A after they were frustrated by Bologna in a 0-0 draw at San Siro.

The Rossoneri went into the international break holding a three-point lead on the back of three straight 1-0 wins, but they could not keep up that winning run on Monday.

Indeed, Bologna – whose coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was not present on the touchline as he is in hospital for leukemia treatment – restricted Stefano Pioli's team to little in the way of clear chances in their boss' 100th league match in charge, to the chagrin of an expectant Milan faithful.

With Napoli and Inter having both won on Sunday, Milan's advantage has now been cut to just one point with seven games remaining.

Rafael Leao had the first opportunity 16 minutes in, though the Portugal forward could not keep his shot down.

Michel Aebischer drilled straight at Mike Maignan following Marko Arnautovic's clever dummy, before Milan's goalkeeper tipped Musa Barrow's strike over after Gary Medel had made a fine block at the other end.

Bologna continued to frustrate their hosts after the restart, with Leao particularly wasteful, first skewing a cross out of play before failing to get a shot off when he had space.

Leao provided a sublime pass for Davide Calabria in the 61st minute, but Medel just managed to divert the full-back's shot wide – a touch the referee failed to notice.

Ante Rebic blazed over as Milan kept up the pressure, with Leao then curling wide from just inside the area.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was given 20 minutes to try and make a difference, but the veteran headed over from the one chance that came his way as Milan were thwarted.
 

What does it mean? No milestone celebration for Pioli as pressure mounts

Pioli did not look longed for the Milan job early in his tenure, but the work he has done to turn the Rossoneri into genuine title contenders has been quite superb. Yet, his milestone 100th Serie A game in charge did not end in a victory, but instead a draw that could prove decisive.

Inter battled their way to a 1-0 win over Juventus on Sunday and are just four points back with a game in hand, while Napoli, who like Milan have played 31 times, are only a point behind the leaders. Bologna, meanwhile, did their coach Mihajlovic proud.

Medel leads brilliant Bologna rear-guard

Medel spent time at San Siro with Inter and the experienced, dogged defender was excellent at the heart of Bologna's defence, doing his old side a huge favour in the process.

He made a joint team-high two blocks, including a fantastic one from Diaz in the first half, gained possession seven times and kept things simple on the ball, completing 33 of 36 passes before he had to go off with a head injury following a collision with Ibrahimovic.

Leao found lacking as Milan pay for their profligacy

It has been a fine season for Leao overall, with the 22-year-old scoring eight league goals so far.

His finishing was found totally lacking this time out, however, with only one of his eight attempts hitting the target, while four were blocked. His wastefulness summed Milan up, as the hosts tallied up 33 attempts to no avail.

What's next?

Milan travel to Torino on Sunday, while Bologna host Sampdoria.

Stefano Pioli says Milan are ready to approach the final eight Serie A games with "energy, strength and motivation" as they battle to end an 11-year title drought.

The Rossoneri have not won the Scudetto since 2011, but they are three points clear of second-placed Napoli with seven weeks of the season remaining.

Rivals Inter are six points adrift of Milan – albeit with a game in hand – after faltering before the international break, and the defending champions face a tough Derby d'Italia clash with in-form Juventus on Sunday.

Leaders Milan go into a San Siro meeting with Bologna on Monday looking to extend their unbeaten run to 11 matches in all competitions and secure a fourth consecutive victory.

Head coach Pioli is backing his players to maintain the high standards they have set with so much at stake.

He said: "I know that I have a responsible team and that the boys are aware of how well they are playing right now. They are doing everything possible to keep up the level of football and their focus.

"We can't let ourselves be influenced by results elsewhere; we need energy for our own games. We don't want to back out and we'll approach these final eight games with energy, strength and motivation."

And Pioli says it is of no importance that the other title contenders will already have played before his side take on Bologna.

He added: "I don't think that the break will have changed the balance. The schedule is tough for every team because we're talking about highly motivated teams with a lot of quality. I'm certain that the team is ready both mentally and physically.

"Playing first or after the others? That doesn't matter. We just need to focus on ourselves and our own performance. Knowing how the teams around us have got on this weekend won't change how we prepare. It doesn't matter what the others do, we need to think about what we are doing."

Asked how he would view Inter's trip to Juve, the coach said: "I will certainly watch it, but I will be very detached because it matters what we do tomorrow and no longer so much what others do.

"The team doesn't have to be influenced by today's [Sunday's] results. What matters is trying to win our game, and we know how to do it."

Pioli revealed striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is fit to face Bologna, who Milan have beaten 11 times and drawn with once in the past 12 games between the two clubs.

The Rossoneri boss says Ibrahimovic has a key role to play in Milan's quest to be crowned champions, whether that be as a starter or off the bench.

He said: "It's not important whether you start or come on part way through, what matters is making a contribution to the team.

"Ibra will need to help the team – as he always does – to try to get the best out of them. It's his aim, and he has always done so – it's his motivation."

Sinisa Mihajlovic is facing a new leukaemia battle after the Bologna head coach revealed he is heading back to hospital for treatment.

The Serie A stalwart, who played for Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter, was first diagnosed with the disease ahead of the 2019-20 season and underwent a bone marrow transplant in October 2019. He was back in the dugout six weeks later.

He has remained boss of Bologna since then but will step away from his responsibilities for an indeterminate period after revealing he has encountered a setback.

Mihajlovic announced the news on Saturday, telling reporters in a news conference that a routine test had given cause for concern.

"In recent years the recovery was excellent, but unfortunately, from the latest analysis some alarm bells have emerged and there is a risk of a reappearance of the disease," Mihajlovic said.

"This disease is very courageous in returning to face an opponent like me."

Former Yugoslavia hard man Mihajlovic, who has coached teams including Sampdoria, Milan and Fiorentina, spoke of the challenges of always knowing there might be a bump in the road after his initial recovery.

"You can fall, and you have to find the strength to get up," he said. "At the beginning of next week I will have to be absent, and I will be hospitalised again at Sant'Orsola. I know I am in excellent hands. Unlike two and a half years ago, when I was in tears, this time you see me calmer.

"I know what I have to do, and my situation is very different than it was then."

Mihajlovic is hoping for a swift return to his Bologna duties, but it will not be immediate. "I will certainly have to skip some matches," he said.

Bologna sit 12th in Serie A and have won just one of 10 league games since the turn of the year, losing six times. Mihajlovic is convinced his players can thrive without him and rise to his encouragement which will come from afar.

Their next match is an April 4 clash with leaders Milan.

"I know they will fight for me. They are all good guys and good players," said 53-year-old Mihajlovic. "I ask the wonderful Bologna fans to support and help them, I am sure it will happen both in training and in matches. 

"None of us will give an inch, we'll move up in the table, and I'll be back with the team soon."

Inter's Serie A clash at Bologna on Thursday was called off at the eleventh hour due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the home club's squad.

Bologna had requested that their game against the leaders be postponed, along with Sunday's meeting with Cagliari, after "a number" of positive tests in the camp were returned.

Although there was no immediate confirmation from league authorities, Inter confirmed less than an hour before the game was due to start at Renato Dall'Ara that it would not go ahead.

Bologna had revealed on Wednesday that their entire squad had been ordered by the local health authority to quarantine for at least five days.

The Inter players warmed up on the pitch, but there were no Rossoblu opponents for what should have been their first game after the winter break. It remains to be seen whether league chiefs order it to go ahead on a new date or award the points to Inter.

Nerazzurri CEO Giuseppe Marotta said there should be no repeat of the decision to call off the game so late, and he wants it to be made mandatory for players to be vaccinated.

Marotta said in Bologna : "First of all, we reaffirm the primary objective of all: to safeguard the health of the players, the fans, all those who revolve around this sport.

"Bologna were ready to take the field and had to accept the decision of the ASL [local health authority]. There is no guideline for sport: we need a protocol that limits the competence of the ASL, otherwise these situations will be repeated.

"The issue of the protocol was addressed in the Lega Council, which will be announced with an official communication. We are faced with a scenario of great confusion and difficult to interpret.

"There are matches postponed and others that will be played: this is because every ASL decides autonomously. So here are cases like that of Bologna-Inter, which will not be played, or that of Spezia-Hellas, which will be played despite the 11 positives in the Venetian team.

"We need a guideline, a discussion with the government. The autonomy of the ASL in the decisions, taken to safeguard public health, causes differences, from case to case.

"I certainly hope for the introduction of full vaccination obligation for all players. If all players had the third dose, the spread of the virus and damage to health would be severely limited.

"The fourth wave caught us off guard, some leagues postponed the matches, others did not. The situation is difficult to assess.

"The postponement of these rounds would have ensured a more fluid management, but then the calendar would have been very compressed: it would have been really difficult to find days of recovery."

Aaron Ramsey has not had the best of times since moving to Juventus.

The Wales midfielder joined Juve from Arsenal in 2019 on a four-year deal.

Ramsey has only managed 70 appearances in an injury hit two and a half years with Juventus.

 

TOP STORY – RAMSEY TO LEAVE JUVENTUS IN JANUARY

Aaron Ramsey is set to exit Juventus in the January transfer window, reports Sky Sports.

Italian transfer supremo Gianluca Di Marzio claimed that Ramsey is likely to return to the Premier League, having already turned down an offer from Burnley .

Newcastle United have been linked with Ramsey, along with Everton.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich will consider swapping Kingsley Coman with Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele in the off-season, reports L'Equipe. Coman's contract expires in 2023 and negotiations on a new deal have stalled.

- Sky Sports have reported that Newcastle are contemplating a bid for Lucas Digne. The full-back is set to leave Everton this month after a falling out with Rafael Benitez, though supposedly prefers a move to London, with Chelsea and West Ham also said to be interested.

- Everton, meanwhile, hold an interest in Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff and have already made a bid, according to the Daily Mail and Sky Sports.

- Paris Saint-Germain may look to sign Lyon's Lucas Paqueta next off-season, so say L'Equipe.

- Manchester United are determined to secure Wolves' Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves in January, according to The Sun.

- Lazio have opened talks with Liverpool on a deal for Belgium international forward Divock Origi, claims LazioNews24.

- According to Sky Sports, five Premier League clubs have held talks with Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho.

Massimiliano Allegri was pleased with Juventus' improved "attitude" as they ran out 2-0 winners over Bologna at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on Saturday.

The Bianconeri were held to a 1-1 draw by Venezia in their last Serie A outing, but they cruised to all three points against Sinisa Mihajlovic's side thanks to goals in each half from Alvaro Morata and Juan Cuadrado.

Juve have now kept five clean sheets in Serie A since November – a joint-record among the top five European leagues in this period, level with Inter.

The performance was a marked improvement from the one at Venezia, and Allegri wants plenty more of that from his sixth-placed team as they bid to climb the table.

"Everyone collaborated when defending, which is how it ought to be," he told DAZN. "Compared to Venezia, we had a better attitude from the start, but we need to do more going forward.

"Bologna have a lot of quality, so it's natural they were going to have some chances. We did well here, but cannot lower our guard now, as there are many head-to-head clashes coming up in January before the Champions League resumes.

"It is a good result that keeps us in the running for fourth place, but we mustn't lower our guard now. It's a long journey, with many young and inexperienced players. We knew from the start it would not be easy to finish in the top four or challenge for the Scudetto.

"We've got one game left in 2021, then we look forward to these exciting clashes in January."

 

Midfielder Arthur was replaced after 61 minutes by Manuel Locatelli, with the former Barcelona man looking less than impressed with the decision.

Allegri expressed no regrets over the call and had some words of advice for the Brazil international.

"We still need to improve our reading of the game and various moments of the match, for instance just before half-time Arthur made this vertical pass when it was the time to hold on and control the possession," he explained.

"It's different at Barcelona; he was in a three-man midfield and not accustomed to sitting in front of the defence.

"He also is used to taking a lot more touches than we do here. I think if he plays in front of the defence with the right mentality and his technique, he can do well.

"His head was wobbling as he ran. He seemed tired so I took him off."

Juventus racked up an 11th consecutive Serie A win over Bologna as goals from Alvaro Morata and Juan Cuadrado sealed a 2-0 win at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.

The Bianconeri were held to a 1-1 draw by Venezia in their last top-flight outing but they never looked in danger of dropping more points after Morata's early opener. 

Massimiliano Allegri's side largely toiled in the second period, yet Cuadrado ensured there was to be no nervy finish with a deflected strike in the 69th minute. 

The result lifted Juventus up to sixth, level on 31 points with fifth-placed Roma, while Bologna remained in 10th.

Juve went ahead in the sixth minute when Morata lashed past Lukasz Skorupski from six yards after being superbly picked out by Federico Bernardeschi.

Mattias Svanberg went close with an audacious overhead kick midway through the first half as Bologna responded well to that early setback, though they could not find a leveller before the interval.

Juve offered little in the way of attacking threat immediately after the break, only making sure of the win when Cuadrado's powerful strike from just inside the penalty area was deflected past Skorupski by Aaron Hickey. 

That goal freed up the visitors to push forward in the closing stages, with Bernardeschi's low strike tipped wide by Skorupski, yet they ultimately failed to add further gloss to the scoreline.

What does it mean? Juve swat aside hosts

It has been a challenging return to Juve for Allegri this season, but there were signs here that things might be clicking into place. They looked robust in defence – limiting Bologna to just three shots on target – while they were ruthless in attack.

He will be looking for plenty more of that as they look to cut into Inter’s 12-point lead at the Serie A summit.

Morata enjoying life on the road

Morata has now found the back of the net in three consecutive away games. It is the first time the Spain international has done that in one of the big five European leagues since May 2017 when he struck in four straight matches on the road with Real Madrid.

Kean off the pace

Moise Kean endured a difficult 71 minutes before he was replaced by Dejan Kulusevski, the Italy international failing to have a single shot or play a key pass. This was his sixth straight Serie A outing without a goal.

What's next?

Juve wrap up 2021 with a home game against Cagliari on Tuesday, while Bologna travel to Sassuolo a day later before the mid-season break. 

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