Newcastle are making plans for the January transfer window following their Saudi ownership takeover.

The Magpies are currently 19th in the Premier League, with three points from eight games and no wins.

Newcastle have been linked with a host of top players at the start of a new era for the club.

 

TOP STORY – OZIL ON NEWCASTLE'S SHORTLIST

Newcastle have shortlisted former Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil as one of their transfer targets, according to Ekrem Konur.

Ozil is currently playing in Turkey with Fenerbahce after moving from the Gunners in January.

The Magpies have made no official offer yet, but they see Ozil, along with Fenerbahce goalkeeper Altay Bayindir in their plans.

 

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- Tuttosport reports that Argentina international Paulo Dybala is set to agree to an extension with Juventus , securing his future with the Turin club until 2026.

- Roma have reignited their interest in Aston Villa's Dutch winger Anwar El Ghazi,  according to Football Insider. Villa are ready to let him go in January for £18million (€21m) if Jose Mourinho's side meet their asking price.

- Netherlands international defender Matthijs de Ligt is unhappy with his role at Juventus and his agent has held talks with Barcelona about a potential move, claims Sport.

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Spain international Yeremy Pino, who turned 19 on Wednesdayis set to agree a new five-year deal with Villarreal.

- Mundo Deportivo reports that Ansu Fati is close to renewing with Barcelona, with an in-principle agreement set to tie him down until 2026.

Massimiliano Allegri insisted Juventus should not get carried away with their upturn in form as they have not yet achieved any success this season.

The Bianconeri struggled at the start of Allegri's second tenure, losing consecutive league matches after drawing their Serie A opener against Udinese.

However, after defeating Roma 1-0 on Sunday, Juve have now won four top-flight games in a row and six consecutive fixtures across all competitions as they prepare to face Zenit in Wednesday's Champions League clash.

But despite the positive change in results, Allegri dismissed suggestions that his side's upturn in form could be seen as a breakthrough – warning that Juve have not achieved anything yet.

"It is not the turning point of the season, we needed results," Allegri responded to reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"The performances have improved as an approach; we have also improved in the final third where we needed a bit of clarity.

"At the beginning, we made good performances, but the results went against us with our mistakes.

"It takes calm; we don't have to be enthusiastic now because we have not done anything."

Juve have never lost against Russian opposition in Europe across eight previous encounters, while they are also looking to win their opening three matches of a Champions League campaign for the first time since 2018-19 – again under Allegri.

The Bianconeri have managed to keep four clean sheets in their last four games in the competition as well, and Allegri pinpointed their willingness to defend as a decisive factor for the improvement in results.

"I feel like smiling when they tell me 'your Juve'," the head coach said of his team's identity.

"I have good players, it's normal that at the beginning I didn't know everyone well. Right now, the team also likes to defend and this is a good thing.

"We need to improve – both the offensive and the defensive parts – then, the results increase self-esteem and you work with more serenity."

Erling Haaland is the name on everyone's lips.

He has starred for club and country, but Real Sociedad's Swedish forward Aleksandar Isak has also impressed.

Isak could be lured to Barcelona if Haaland is not available.

 

TOP STORY – ISAK WANTED AT CAMP NOU

Barcelona are lining up a move for Real Sociedad forward Alexander Isak if they are unable to sign in-demand Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to Diario AS.

Haaland is wanted by Barca and Europe's elite, with the Norwegian linked with Real Madrid, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

With competition fierce, LaLiga outfit Barca are looking close to home and at Isak as an alternative.

 

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- Ekrem Konur claims City are considering Barca sensation Ansu Fati as a possible replacement for Raheem Sterling should the England international depart the Premier League champions. Barca are reportedly interested in Sterling on a loan deal.

Dortmund want Ajax's Sebastien Haller to succeed Haaland at the Bundesliga outfit, reports Calciomercato. Former Eintracht Frankfurt forward Haller has starred for the Eredivisie giants.

Juve's objective is to sign Monaco and France star Aurelien Tchouameni, says Calciomercato. Tchouameni is also a target for United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool, PSG and Madrid.

- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Juve, Milan and Tottenham are eyeing PSG's Mauro Icardi.

Is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer running out of time at Old Trafford?

Manchester United are already five points off the pace in the Premier League and pressure is mounting.

United, though, are believed to be firmly in favour of sticking with their manager.

 

TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER WANTED AT THE WHEEL

Manchester United are still backing under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to Fabrizio Romano.

United slumped to a 4-2 Premier League defeat to Leicester City at the weekend, which has left the Red Devils with just two wins from their past seven games across all competitions.

As pressure mounts on Solskjaer, United still reportedly have faith in the Norwegian amid links with the likes of Antonio Conte, Zinedine Zidane and Erik ten Hag.

 

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- Calciomercato reports Serie A champions Inter are ready to battle Arsenal for Madrid forward Luka Jovic. The Serbia international has struggled for form and fitness in the Spanish capital.

PSG want to swap Mauro Icardi for Barcelona's Sergio Aguero, claims El Nacional. The reports says Lionel Messi wants to reunite with countryman Aguero, who left Manchester City for Barca, only for Messi to join PSG.

- Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni, Borussia Dortmund's Axel Witsel, Denis Zakaria of Borussia Monchengladbach and Ajax's Ryan Gravenberch are among Juventus' transfer targets as they look to add options in midfield, per Tuttosport. Tchouameni has also been linked with Chelsea, Manchester United, Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City, while Roma have been eyeing Zakaria.

Napoli star Victor Osimhen described his match-winning header as the "most important goal of my career" after the record-equalling Serie A leaders preserved their perfect start to the season.

Osimhen rose highest to head home the winner with nine minutes remaining in Napoli's 1-0 victory at home to Torino on Sunday.

Napoli made it eight wins from eight games – the only team with a 100 per cent record in the top-five European leagues – to equal their best start to the Serie A season (after 2017-18), despite Lorenzo Insigne's missed penalty in the first half.

Osimhen revelled in his goal afterwards, with only Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (seven) and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland (five) scoring more goals than the Nigerian forward (five) in September and October in the major five European leagues this year.

"It was the most important goal of my career," Osimhen said post-match. "I'm so pleased. The atmosphere at the stadium was incredible. The fans pushed us forward and we managed to get the three points.

"We never gave up, we attacked until the end and deserved the win. I saw the ball fly up and I thought I could get there before the defenders.

"I connected well and scored such an important goal for me and the team."

Napoli – who last won the Scudetto in 1989-90 – are two points clear of second-placed Milan.

"When you have strong players in attack, there are more solutions, so you always hope something can happen," Spalletti told DAZN.

"… I've seen an improvement in terms of mentality and compactness. Seeing [Matteo] Politano and Insigne track back is something that unites, gives strength and creates team spirit.

"We have a team of friends. We also want to propose a good football and tonight we were at a very good level. We built, fought and were willing to give what this game required."

"We obtained a big win for our fans who deserve it. We feel the passion for their love for these colours and the team. It was important to feel their joy tonight."

Insigne is the player who has missed the largest number of penalties (three) this season in the five major European leagues.

The Napoli captain missed his sixth penalty out of his 26 attempts in Serie A – considering only the current season, the Italian forward has scored two penalties out of his five attempts.

Since Napoli returned to Serie A in the 2007-08 season, they are the team that have missed the highest number of penalties in the five major European leagues (35).

"Lorenzo has a strong bond, especially with his team-mates who are helping him. He was sorry for not giving his contribution," Spalletti said. "For me, Insigne will take the next one, then it will be Lorenzo's turn and then the captain's."

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri admitted he did some "damage" at the start of the season, but the Serie A giants are heading in the right direction after beating Roma.

Moise Kean earned the credit for Juve's winning goal in Sunday's 1-0 win at home to Roma as Rodrigo Bentancur's first-half header deflected off his forehead and in, while Wojciech Szczesny saved Jordan Veretout's penalty.

Juve have now won four consecutive Serie A matches and six in a row across all competitions, though they started the 2021-22 campaign without a win in three league fixtures – losing back-to-back matches after drawing their opener.

"We have players more suited to counter-attacks, those are their characteristics, so when we try to play the ball, we either fall asleep or get irritable," Allegri – back in Turin for a second spell having replaced Andrea Pirlo – told DAZN.

"It's an important victory, another step forward in the table and a further progress for the season. We were missing [Paulo] Dybala, [Matthijs] De Ligt, [Adrien] Rabiot, [Alvaro] Morata only came on at the end, but when everyone plays with that spirit, you don’t concede as many goals.

"We are starting to slow the game down at the right time, but we need to step up the pace too when it's required. I won't lie, I probably did damage too at the start with some of my choices, I had to get to know some players and their characteristics, but we're getting there."

"We knew beforehand it would be tough. Roma could've deserved a draw, but these are games that depend on incidents and tonight fortunately they went our way," said Allegri. "I do say they put in a good performance and are one of the best teams in the league."

After falling behind in the 16th minute, Roma's Tammy Abraham thought he had equalised, turning a loose ball into the back of the net after Szczesny brought Henrikh Mkhitaryan down in the box.

But the whistle had already gone to award Roma a spot-kick, which Veretout saw the Juventus goalkeeper parry aside on the stroke of half-time.

"I like 1-0, as it's a good result, especially as we kept another clean sheet," Allegri added. "Roma are a technically good team, they have a lot of quality and caused us problems early on, then we scored a good goal and improved as time wore on."

Szczesny is the goalkeeper who has saved the most penalties in Serie A in 2021 – three out of the seven faced.

On the penalty, Allegri said: "Szczesny made all his mistakes for the season in one fell swoop and is now bringing back what he can to the team. We need to improve in the final third, the timing and movement, but we'll get there."

With this win against Roma, Juventus have won 10 Serie A games at Allianz Stadium against a single opponent for their first time.

Jose Mourinho says he saw a "great" Roma in Sunday's 1-0 loss to Juventus and is convinced his side are moving in the right direction despite the defeat.

Moise Kean scored the only goal of the game at Juventus Stadium as Rodrigo Bentancur's header deflected in off the striker in the first half, with Jordan Veretout seeing a penalty kept out by Bianconeri goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Roma out-shot Juventus 15-6 and edged possession with 52.1 per cent, but were unable to breach the hosts' stubborn rear-guard in Turin.

Giallorossi boss Mourinho believes his beaten side did enough to win the match and is encouraged by the progress Roma are making under his stewardship.

"I can only say I saw a great Roma today. That's what I told my players in the locker room," Mourinho told DAZN.

"Obviously, we are talking about a defeat and zero points, but all I can say is that was a great Roma in every respect. Congratulations for the organisation, the hard work, those who played despite some physical difficulties, missing players through international duty.

"I saw courage, confidence, belief. Obviously, the defeat will always be a defeat, but if I look at the project, that means looking at the growth of the team over time.

"I might see it differently to you, but I saw the team that deserved to win ended up losing. That is football.

"All the words we heard from Juventus in the tunnel and the locker room, I hope they say it in public too. They know how much they struggled against us.

"I won here many years ago without playing so well, today we lost when playing very well and showing we are going in the right direction.

"I told the lads that when going into these games where you are not the favourite, you cannot go home with regrets. We played well, we neutralised their counter-attack and had absolute control of players like [Federico] Chiesa and [Juan] Cuadrado.

"We moved the ball internally, but when up against a side that defends that well with those two professors [Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci] it's not easy. I still feel we did more than enough to win or at least draw. I congratulate my players."

Roma were frustrated with the referee for awarding the penalty that Veretout failed to convert, blowing his whistle seconds before Tammy Abraham turned the ball into the net after Henrikh Mkhitaryan was fouled by Szczesny.

However, Mourinho declined to comment on the matter other than to confirm that Abraham had wanted to take the spot-kick, but had been turned down by first-choice taker Veretout.

"The penalty incident, I don;t want to comment on," Mourinho continued. "I don't have all the information at hand, I haven't seen the replays. I want to isolate myself from that incident and concentrate on everything my team did.

"Abraham is confident, he was fired up, but we have a hierarchy for penalties. Tammy is third behind Veretout and Pellegrini. If Jordan said he was ready to hand it over, that would not have been a problem for me."

Wojciech Szczesny was the hero for Juventus as he saved Jordan Veretout's penalty, awarded under controversial circumstances, en route to a 1-0 win over Roma.

Moise Kean earned the credit for the Bianconeri's winning goal in the first half as Rodrigo Bentancur's header deflected off his forehead and in.

Tammy Abraham thought he had equalised, turning a loose ball into the back of the net after Szczesny brought Henrikh Mkhitaryan down in the box, but the whistle had already gone to award Roma a spot-kick, which Jordan Veretout saw the Juventus goalkeeper parry aside.

The result sees Massimiliano Allegri's side move up to seventh in the Serie A table, just one point behind Roma, who remain fourth.

Roma started the brighter of the two sides, Gianluca Mancini testing Szczesny with an early headed effort, but went behind in the 16th minute as the hosts scored with their first attempt of the game, Bentancur heading the ball against Kean and in following Mattia De Sciglio's deep cross from the left.

The visitors were left frustrated as the referee blew his whistle to award them a penalty - confirmed after a VAR review - for Szczesny's foul on Mkhitaryan just moments before Abraham found the net, with Veretout's subsequent spot-kick saved by the Poland international.

Shortly after the restart, Federico Bernardeschi's spectacular bicycle kick was spilled into the path of Kean by Rui Patricio, but the striker blazed the loose ball over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

A second VAR penalty check was conducted when Lorenzo Pellegrini went down in the box as he and Giorgio Chiellini swiped at a loose ball, but this time Jose Mourinho's men were denied a spot-kick and were unable to find an equaliser, slumping to their third defeat of the season.

Jose Mourinho has scotched suggestions he could become the next Newcastle United manager but acknowledged "an emotional connection" to the city.

Ahead of his Roma team facing Juventus in Serie A on Sunday, the former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham boss stressed he was not thinking about a Premier League return.

After the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund takeover at St James' Park, the expectation is that the club will see dramatic changes in personnel, with big-name players and staff arriving.

Steve Bruce remains head coach for now, but speculation surrounds his position, amid suggestions the new owners will want a higher-profile boss.

Mourinho would fit that bill, and has a track record of success in domestic and European football.

But when asked about the prospect of a switch to Newcastle, Mourinho frowned on the possibility and said he was committed to Roma, who are owned by American billionaire Dan Friedkin.

Mourinho moved to the Italian capital club in the close season, after his appointment was announced in May.

He said his passion for Newcastle is one that has been long held, stemming from his time working at Barcelona alongside Bobby Robson, who went on to manage the Magpies.

"The only thing I can say is that, for many, many years, I worked with one of the most important figures in the history of Newcastle, Sir Bobby Robson," Mourinho said.

"And so because of that I have always had a bit of an emotional connection with that city and that fanbase.

"But it's nothing more than that. I am here, I am really happy to be here, I am 100 per cent focused on the Roma project, the Friedkin project."

The race is on to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland, who might be set to make a move in mid-2022.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are all interested in the Norwegian goal machine, but could Newcastle United also be a factor?.

Haaland netted 41 goals from 41 games last term for Dortmund and already has 13 this season.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE ENTER HAALAND RACE

Newcastle are the latest club to enter the race to sign Borussia Dortmund's Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, reports AS.

The report claims Real Madrid are losing their grip as favourites to sign Haaland, with Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and now Newcastle potentially in contention.

The Magpies' move is said to be "not out of the question" following the club's takeover by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund who appear set to make a splash in the transfer market in January. 

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- Mohamed Salah's agent has arrived in England for contract talks with Liverpool over a £500k-per-week deal, according to the Mirror.

- ESPN reports that Premier League trio Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool are tracking Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, rivalling Real Madrid. United's interest is said to be based around whether Paul Pogba departs.

- Dusan Vlahovic will follow Federico Chiesa's lead and reject a new Fiorentina contract offer in favour of a move to Juventus, ignoring Premier League interest from Tottenham and Liverpool, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Barcelona are interested in Manchester United's Nemanja Matic, claims The Sun. The Serbian has a little over 18 months remaining on his United deal so Barca believe they could sign him next off-season on a cut-price deal.

- Goal Germany reports that Bayern Munich are making a move to sign Salzburg talent Karim Adeyemi, with the player's agent and father reportedly holding talks with the Bavarian club on Saturday.

Olivier Giroud was relieved to get back among the goals as Milan fought back to beat Hellas Verona 3-2 at San Siro on Saturday.

The Rossoneri looked to be heading for a first defeat in 30 home Serie A meetings with Verona when Gianluca Caprari and Antonin Barak put them 2-0 up before half-time.

Giroud headed in just before the hour mark to spark Milan's revival, with Franck Kessie levelling the scores from the penalty spot before a late decisive own goal from Koray Gunter.

The result put Stefano Pioli's men top of the table ahead of Napoli's clash with Torino on Sunday.

In scoring his third goal in his first two Serie A home games, Giroud matched a feat only previous reached by Oliver Bierhoff, Alexandre Pato, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Bacca since 1994-95.

The former Arsenal and Chelsea striker, who had missed four of Milan's previous five games, admitted it had been a long time coming to be back on the scoresheet.

"I've waited a long time for this moment. I missed the competition," Giroud, who last scored in the win over Cagliari in August, told DAZN.

"In the first half, we didn't do well but the reaction was important. I don't feel 100 per cent yet but I am growing and I feel more free.

"This victory is a joy. I can't wait to go and celebrate with my team-mates. In the first half, there was a lack of nastiness and quality. We could only do better in the second half, and that's what we did."

Pioli was left delighted with the endeavour shown by his side in the second half as they now prepare for a key Champions League group game with Porto on Tuesday.

"My team believe in what they do and put their soul into everything," he told DAZN.

"We tried to play from the back but they were very aggressive in the first half. They took away our space and often left us with just the long ball. We were not very dynamic and we suffered.

"The best thing about this group is to see everyone involved. The credit doesn't go to me, but it's the air we breathe. The boys put individuality aside to put themselves at the service of the team.

"We should enjoy this game but prepare for Porto. We've recovered some players and we've lost some. The more rotations there are, the better we can do." 

Milan roared back from 2-0 down to beat Hellas Verona 3-2 on Saturday and claim top spot in the Serie A table.

Unbeaten in their opening seven league games of the season, the Rossoneri were 2-0 down at the break against a side previously without an away win against them in 29 attempts.

Gianluca Caprari and a penalty from Antonin Barak had Verona heading for an unlikely three points before the home side produced a second-half turnaround.

After Olivier Giroud had headed home a third goal in three league games, Franck Kessie equalised from the penalty spot before Koray Gunter's own goal settled a gripping contest.

Milan had not conceded two first-half goals in Serie A since last November – against these opponents – but they paid the price for a lifeless start to the contest.

Ciprian Tatarusanu, in for the injured Mike Maignan, was powerless to keep out Caprari's precise finish seven minutes in after Miguel Veloso had kept Verona's attack alive.

The lead was doubled 17 minutes later, Barak putting his penalty just out of Tatarusanu's reach after Alessio Romagnoli was judged to have fouled Nikola Kalinic as the former Milan forward darted in front of him to meet a cross.

This Milan is a resilient side, though – they have only twice taken more points after the first eight matches of the season in the three-point era than they had before this game – and they got a lifeline just before the hour when Giroud nodded in Rafael Leao's expert cross from the left.

A swift passing move saw Leao backheel the ball to Samu Castillejo, who was caught from behind by Marco Faraoni, allowing Kessie to dispatch a confident penalty and level the scores with 15 minutes left.

Stefano Pioli introduced Zlatan Ibrahimovic off the bench, and the veteran striker may well have had a tap-in had Gunter not scuffed an attempted clearance beneath the legs of goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipo to give Milan the lead.


What does it mean? Milan go top – and stay unbeaten

Milan's comeback saw them leapfrog Napoli, who play Torino on Sunday, and go top of the table by a single point.

With Inter having lost 3-1 at Lazio earlier, Pioli will be doubly pleased with the manner of their second-half performance as they capitalised on their rivals' first loss of the season.

Verona are 13th, with eight points from eight games.

Olivier takes centre stage

Giroud has made a career out of being a penalty-box menace and it was no surprise to see him drag Milan back into the contest.

He is the fifth Rossonero since 1994-95 to score three goals in his first two Serie A home games, after Oliver Bierhoff, Alexandre Pato, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Bacca.

Maldini goes missing

Daniel Maldini completed just seven passes before being hooked at half-time as Pioli rang the changes to good effect.

By contrast, replacement Rade Krunic completed twice as many in the opposition half alone while creating four goalscoring chances.

What's next?

Milan head to Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday before facing Bologna away on October 23.

Simone Inzaghi was left anguished after his first Serie A defeat as Inter boss came at his former club Lazio, admitting: "We lost our heads."

A 3-1 setback came after a flurry of second-half goals from the home side in Rome, with the defending champions knocked out of their stride late on by a moment of controversy.

With Inter's Federico Dimarco down, apparently injured, Lazio played on and got the 81st-minute goal that put them 2-1 ahead, Felipe Anderson netting from close range after Ciro Immobile's strike was parried by Samir Handanovic.

Inter were furious and both sides had two players booked as bickering on the pitch threatened to spill over. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic sealed the points in stoppage time with a fine header, ending Inter's seven-game unbeaten start to the league campaign.

Inzaghi's new team took the lead against his former charges when Ivan Perisic converted an early penalty, but Lazio had a spot-kick in the 64th minute after Patric's header from a corner was handled by Alessandro Bastoni. Immobile tucked away that chance and the comeback gathered momentum from there.

The result rankled with Inzaghi, who said afterwards: "That was our best recent performance, but when a team like ours is a goal up, we have to manage the game better in terms of our final ball and double our lead."

Quoted on the official Inter website, he added: "Unfortunately, they scored their equaliser from a corner that we shouldn't have conceded. From that point on, the game changed and Lazio got back into the contest.

"The second goal was a bit strange and we lost our heads, which is something we can't allow to happen. It's disappointing. It's a setback that we didn't need in terms of our league position, but we'll take the performance and move on."

Inter sit third in the Serie A standings, behind Napoli and Milan, and their next league clash sees them face Juventus on Sunday of next weekend.

"When you face sides like Lazio, you can't give them a chance to get back into the match," Inzaghi said. "We managed the contest particularly well for an hour, but we then let our opponents back into the game and paid the consequences."

Lazio head coach Maurizio Sarri said Inter should have put the ball out of play themselves when they had an opportunity after Dimarco went to ground.

Sarri was also dismayed to see Luiz Felipe, who had an excellent game in central defence, red-carded after the final whistle.

Luiz Felipe, in celebration mode, jumped on his former Lazio team-mate Joaquin Correa, who left for Inter in August. Correa did not see the funny side and Luiz Felipe was in tears after being dismissed.

"Luiz Felipe told me he was saying goodbye to Correa, they played together for a long time. They didn't want to fight," said Sarri. "It's a big misunderstanding."

Lazio scored twice late on as they came from behind to beat Inter 3-1 and end Simone Inzaghi's unbeaten start in Serie A with his new club.

Ivan Perisic opened the scoring from the spot after just 12 minutes at the Stadio Olimpico, before Lazio's Ciro Immobile equalised with a penalty of his own after the break.

Controversy followed as Felipe Anderson tapped in on the rebound from Immobile's strike with nine minutes remaining, with Inter's Federico Dimarco seemingly down on the ground and injured in the build-up to the goal.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic added a third with a late header as Inter's unbeaten start to their title defence, under the guidance of former Lazio boss Inzaghi, abruptly ended. The result leaves them four points behind leaders Napoli, who host Torino on Sunday.

Lazio's Luiz Felipe was red-carded after the full-time whistle for an altercation with former team-mate Joaquin Correa as tempers flared after the conclusion of the game.

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri has revealed his respect for Roma counterpart Jose Mourinho, declaring it good news for Serie A that the Portuguese boss has returned to Italy.

The experienced pair go head-to-head on Sunday in Turin, with Allegri's men sitting a disappointing seventh in the league standings going into the weekend, four points and three places behind the capital club.

Mourinho returned to take charge of a team in Italy this term for the first time since leaving Inter in 2010, having won Serie A in his first season and a remarkable treble in his second at San Siro.

Allegri believes the presence of such a character can only be positive for the league, despite an incident in 2018 when Mourinho – then managing Manchester United – taunted Allegri's Juventus and their fans after a 2-1 comeback win in 2018 by cupping his ear to the crowd.

"Mourinho is a coach who has won a lot and I respect him a lot," Allegri said. "It's in his character to, every now and then, do like he did with Manchester a few years ago.

"It pleases me to have a coach of his value back in Italy."

Despite offering such words for his counterpart, Allegri is determined to see his team come out on top as Juventus look to close the gap between themselves and league leaders Napoli, who have won every game.

"Juventus versus Roma is always a great match where there has often been controversy. There's Mourinho, who has given them character. They are ahead of us, and we must score points to not fall behind the best in the championship.

"We need to prepare well and turn the switch back on immediately after the break."

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