Inter moved back to the summit of Serie A in the latest turn of an enthralling title race after they claimed a 3-1 win over Spezia.

The Nerazzurri threw down a gauntlet to rivals Milan as they deposed them at the top of the table thanks to goals from Marcelo Brozovic, Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez.

Simone Inzaghi's defending champions could well end the weekend back in second place, with their San Siro neighbours set to face Genoa later on Good Friday.

But victory at Stadio Alberto Picco at least means the Nerazzurri remain neck-and-neck, with a game in hand on the Rossoneri beyond this latest round ensuring destiny stays in their own hands.

In a game where opportunities were initially at a premium, it took almost 15 minutes for either side to register an attempt, with Denzel Dumfries heading wide.

But when Danilo D'Ambrosio headed down a looping cross near the edge of the box in the 31st minute, there was little stopping Brozovic's rasping drive into the top-left corner.

The visitors were not as clinically composed as they would have liked, however.

Nicolo Barella slid reaching for the ball past the hour to fumble a great chance for a second, while Dumfries blazed a subsequent low cross way over the crossbar.

But when Martinez flicked Ivan Perisic's cross beyond Ivan Provedel with just over a quarter-hour to play, Inter looked to be home and dry.

Giulio Maggiore fired home a response late on to set up a nervy final act, but the visitors restored the two-goal cushion in stoppage time, with Sanchez drilling a squared Martinez pass home.

 

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.

Juventus have agreed a one-year contract extension with Juan Cuadrado.

The versatile Cuadrado initially joined Juve on a season-long loan from Chelsea in 2015, before returning the following campaign on a three-year loan from Stamford Bridge.

Juve then signed the Colombia international on a permanent deal after a contractual clause in the loan agreement was met when the Bianconeri lifted the 2016-17 Serie A title.

However, uncertainty has surrounded the future of Cuadrado at Juve – who have confirmed Paulo Dybala will depart at the end of the season when his contract expires – with his deal set to run out in June 2022.

But the 33-year-old has committed to another year in Turin, with Massimiliano Allegri's side confirming the agreement on Friday.

"Indissoluble. An adjective that describes something that cannot be brought to an end, cannot be undone or broken," a statement from Juve read.

"The relationship that binds Juventus to Cuadrado and Juan to the black and white jersey is all in this word. Something strong, which goes beyond the field of play, goes beyond the surface.

"A bond that continues until 2023. Juan is unique, irreplaceable. And it's great we're staying together, Panita!"

Cuadrado has amassed 262 appearances for Juve, scoring 24 times and providing 53 assists during his time in Turin.

Last season, he recorded 10 assists in Serie A and 17 across all competitions, impressive form that the evergreen winger-turned-full-back has continued into the 2021-22 campaign.

Cuadrado has only three assists in the league for Allegri's team this season, but no Juve player has created more chances (52) or played more games (30) or minutes (2,254).

He has also taken the captain's armband in the absence of experienced campaign Giorgio Chiellini for Juve, who are fourth in the league, six points behind leaders Milan.

Allegri will be hoping Cuadrado can continue his productive season when Juve host Bologna on Saturday as they look to extend their five-point lead over fifth-placed Roma.

Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon was surprised by the club's decision not to renew the contract of attacker Paulo Dybala.

However, the 44-year-old, now at Serie B side Parma, does not believe the Bianconeri have made a mistake in letting Dybala leave, noting the improvement Juventus have made under Massimiliano Allegri.

The club confirmed last month Dybala would be allowed to leave at the end of his contract in June, despite the Argentina international recording 13 goal involvements (eight goals, five assists) in 23 Serie A appearances this season.

Among Juve players, only Alvaro Morata (also eight goals and five assists), can match the 28-year-old's output this term.

"I didn't expect it," Buffon told La Stampa of Dybala's departure. "But the club was direct and honest. 

"They didn't renew his contract because they consider him not functional to the project, not because he is poor. 

"He will do great things, but it does not mean that Juve made a mistake. The camp says the group is improving."

Juventus have played their way into title contention after picking up more points in the second half of the Serie A season than any other side (28), while their six-point gap to leaders Milan is the closest the Old Lady have been to the summit since August.

Their quest for a 10th title in 11 years sees them face Bologna on Saturday, against whom Dybala, who is being strongly linked with rivals Inter, has seven goals and one assist in 11 Serie A matches.

 

Buffon was also asked about the fortunes of the Italy national team after Roberto Mancini's European champions failed to qualify for a second consecutive World Cup, falling to a humiliating play-off loss to North Macedonia in qualifying last month.

Buffon, who won 176 caps for the Azzurri and starred as they won the 2006 World Cup, said Mancini must carry responsibility for their struggles despite leading Italy to Euro 2020 glory.

"He was the architect of the Azzurri renaissance, but he has some responsibility," Buffon said of Mancini. 

"There is a way and a way... if you lose on penalties to Portugal, it is one thing, North Macedonia is tougher [to justify]. 

"Already in 2010 I realised that things were changing, that we should have celebrated the qualifications. We lack quality and nastiness. If motivated, we give our best; otherwise, we can lose to anyone."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic must "listen to his body" as he ponders his future in football after an injury-hit season with Milan, according to legendary Italian striker Francesco Totti.

The Roma icon also compared Ibrahimovic's stop-start season to the end of his own playing career, although he acknowledged he was often benched despite not suffering from as many injuries as the Swede has.

Ibrahimovic could win his fifth Scudetto in the coming weeks, with Milan holding a slight advantage over Inter, Napoli, and Juventus at the Serie A summit, but has started just 11 of the Rossoneri's 32 league games this term.

The Sweden international, who missed out on the chance to represent his country at the 2022 World Cup after a play-off defeat to Poland last month, has impressed when he has featured in Serie A, netting eight times in 19 league appearances at a rate of 117.25 minutes per goal.

But with Ibrahimovic reportedly set to miss another batch of games after suffering a knee strain, talk has turned to whether the legendary striker could hang up his boots in the near future.

Totti, however, hopes to see the 40-year-old play on if he can continue at a high level.

"Ibra, listen to your body," Totti said. "Finish [the season] with a goal and then decide. Nobody can understand it like me, it's scary. He made history, but now it depends [on his physical condition].

"I hope he will continue as long as he feels like it, but only if his body allows him to be able to be as decisive as he always has been. 

"Ibra is a lion on and off the field. But playing 10 minutes and then stopping, spending more time in the medical room than on the pitch, being given injections, that's heavy. 

"It's been five years [since Totti's own retirement], but I remember all the sensations, and watching Ibra in the last period, I relive them, even if my situation it was a little different from his. I hadn't had any particular injuries.

"I felt I could still give my contribution, but I was quickly pushed aside. I would not wish my last year on my worst enemy. It was very heavy on a mental level.

"[It was] exhausting, because when after a life on the pitch, you do not play continuously, especially at a certain age, you are not letting your body rest, you are making it rust."

 

Totti scored one goal in 18 Serie A appearances during the 2016-17 season, his final campaign with the Giallorossi at the end of an incredible 25-year spell with the club, but all but one of those appearances came from the bench.

The 45-year-old registered 250 goals and 105 assists in a glittering Serie A career which saw him make 618 appearances overall, and said he would have loved to have played with Ibrahimovic.

He also believes Ibrahimovic could move into coaching at the end of his playing career, but would need to find a club capable of matching his ambitious personality.

"If they were to propose to him to be a manager, he must immediately demand clarity and transparency," Totti added. "There are two questions to ask; what should I do? And who should I do it with?

"Ibrahimovic is a brilliant man, if we had played together, with my assists, he would have scored a hundred more goals!"

Inter are firming as a likely destination for Paulo Dybala, as the end to his time at Juventus draws near.

The Argentina international has provided 96 goals and 51 assists in 265 league appearances for Juventus, but will not stay in an evident rebuild under Max Allegri.

While Dybala is set to leave after seven seasons in Turin, and after a near-move to Tottenham, it appears he might stay in Italy's Serie A after all.

 

TOP STORY – INTER CLOSE IN ON DYBALA

Inter are closing in on Paulo Dybala, whose contract at Juventus will expire at the end of the season, according to reports from La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 28-year-old attacker has drifted out to the periphery for the Turin giants, ever since Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer, to the point where they are not willing to renew his contract.

Per the report however, Inter face potential stumbling blocks in fitting Dybala within their wage structure, with talks between the club and his representatives focused on bridging any gaps in expectations.

While Inter would seek to bring Dybala in next season, they are not in a capacity to offer a €6milliion salary, currently earned by Lautaro Martinez and Marcelo Brozovic.

Though Inter are unsure of Martinez's future at the San Siro, Alexis Sanchez falling out of favour under Simone Inzaghi could facilitate Dybala's addition.

 

ROUND-UP

– Juventus are keen to sign Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo, and are prepared to add Moise Kean as part of a package deal, according to Nicolo Schira.

Manchester United have reached a verbal agreement in principle for Erik ten Hag to leave Ajax and become their next manager, The Athletic is reporting.

Liverpool are prepared to make a £25million (€30m) offer for Torino's Gleison Bremer, per Tuttomercato.

Barcelona must be prepared to pay Juventus €100m in order to sign 22-year-old centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, Fichajes is reporting.

– Atletico Madrid are interested in signing Lautaro Martinez, with Inter setting a transfer price range of €70-80m, per Nicolo Schira.

Julio Cesar believes his former club Inter have "all the possibilities" to retain their Serie A title after a productive weekend for the Nerazzurri in the Scudetto race.

Simone Inzaghi's side beat Hellas Verona on Saturday before seeing title rivals Napoli lose at home to Fiorentina and league leaders Milan draw 0-0 at Torino.

Inter now sit second, ahead of Napoli on goal difference and two points behind Milan, but with a game in hand on both and a superior goal difference.

Speaking with Stats Perform courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Cesar compared the current Inter team to the one he played in, which won a treble in the 2009-10 season. 

"Since Inter won the title [last season], Juventus' streak has been interrupted," he said. "When I was at Inter, Juventus was the team to beat. Now, after the title, responsibility always increases.

"Today, the club has a wonderful structure at La Pinetina. I had the opportunity to visit the place. Everything has changed. Having said that, I think that the football played on the pitch makes the difference.

"This championship is very balanced. Inter is in second place behind Milan, the season is still open.

"We have Milan, Inter and Napoli, which are all in contention for the title. There are six games left and Inter have all the possibilities to win the Scudetto. Inter is a strong team, although they had peaks and valleys, but I guess this is normal during a season."

 

Cesar also had words of praise for current Inter stopper Samir Handanovic, believing that a lack of Champions League football during his time at the club has led to people underestimating the Slovenian.

"I think Samir has shown his value since he joined Inter," he said. "However, his quality was not always recognised because Inter was out of the Champions League for many years.

"Playing in the Champions League allows you to step up your game. Samir has brought the right confidence, he has become the captain and the leader of the team. Inter must be ready to give credit to the work that Samir has done."

Inter have been linked with a move for Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana at the end of the season, but Cesar is unsure if the Cameroonian would displace Handanovic.

He added: "Even if a younger keeper will join the club – I am not sure about Onana's age [26] but I imagine he is a young talent – Samir is still a keeper who knows the club's environment very well.

"Even if Onana will join Inter, Handanovic will be the first choice. Winning the title could also give him the confidence in persuading the club to be their first choice also for next year. He is talented and he keeps himself physically fit, so he could be the first goalkeeper for the next two years."

Former Juventus defender Fabio Cannavaro says the Bianconeri can still win the Scudetto this season, insisting Massimiliano Allegri's men have a chance in a "four-man race" for the title.

Cannavaro noted the slip-ups of Juventus' rivals as a reason for his belief in his former club's chances, claiming "it seems that nobody wants to win" Serie A.

The legendary centre-back also demanded far-reaching changes across Italian football in response to the Azzurri's recent failure to reach this year's Qatar World Cup, but would not be drawn on talk he could replace Roberto Mancini as the national team's coach.

Juventus are six points behind leaders Milan with six games remaining, and narrowed the gap on their rivals over the weekend, beating Cagliari 2-1 before Milan drew 0-0 with Torino and Napoli lost 3-2 to Fiorentina.

Juventus have now won three consecutive away league games for the first time this season, and the 48-year-old, who left the club for Real Madrid after captaining Italy to World Cup glory in 2006, believes Allegri's men remain in the hunt.

"It seems that nobody wants to win it," the 2006 Ballon D'or winner said at an event in Tuscany. "The feeling is that when there is the chance to make a difference, something always happens.

"The championship is always open, anything can happen. Seeing the results of those ahead [of Juventus], it's a four-man race.

"We know Juventus, they never give up, it is certainly a championship that can give us surprises.

"It's a strange championship, when you have the chance to knock the others off [the top], nobody does. It's a championship that anyone can win, all four of them. If the results are [to continue like] these, it will be an interesting ending ".

If Juventus were to win the title, it would represent their 10th Scudetto in 11 years, and their sixth under the tutelage of Allegri.

Cannavaro was also asked about his country's second consecutive failure to qualify for the World Cup after Italy suffered a shock play-off defeat to North Macedonia last month.

"It hurts," he said of the failure to reach Qatar. "After 2006, we are no longer able to [have our] say at the World Cup, which has always seen us as protagonists.

"Beyond this, this resignation to the fact that it has to be like this saddens me. It is a shame, there are generations [of Italians] that have not seen a final phase [of a World Cup].

"We need to change quickly. I don't have the cure, I don't have the recipe, it's not up to me.

"It [the Italian Football Federation] is an organisation that doesn't work. Before, the [Italian] teams went to Europe and commanded, we went to Champions League finals, now we haven't reached it for years.

"It [talk of Cannavaro succeeding Mancini] is normal. You can't focus on one man, but on a system that has failed for too many years. I haven't heard from anyone."

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini intends to continue enjoying his football and will evaluate his future soon amid ongoing speculation over a contract renewal or a departure.

The Italy veteran has appeared 16 times for Juve in Serie A this season in a campaign that has been hampered by injuries and COVID-19.

Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs De Ligt have taken up the mantle at the heart of defence in his absence, with Massimilano Alllegri's side fourth in the league, six points behind leaders Milan.

Chiellini's contract is set to expire at the end of the next season, leading to questions about retirement or a potential exit from Turin.

Reports in Italy suggest the option of an MLS move may be on the cards, but for the meantime, Chiellini is focused on this season with Juve.

"I'm happy, serene, I have to understand and evaluate many things," Chiellini, who has played for Juve since 2004, said on Monday. 

"In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the matches I play."

The centre-back's agent, Davide Lippi, son of Italy’s World Cup-winning coach Marcello, echoed Chiellini's sentiments when speaking to Sky Sport Italia.

"It's still early to talk about it," he said of a renewal for Chiellini. "It is too early to talk about his future, he is very focused on Juventus and is only thinking of closing the season in the best possible way."

As for a move to the United States, Lippi added: "We are talking about an international athlete. We do not know where he will be, but there will be no shortage of offers.

"With such a player you need patience to make decisions."

Not a window goes by where Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's name does not emerge in transfer speculation.

The 27-year-old's contract expires at the end of the 2023-24 season, but Juventus are keen to move on the long sought-after Lazio midfielder.

The Serbia international has only progressed under Maurizio Sarri, attracting reported interest from the Turn giants.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE RAMP UP CHASE FOR MILINKOVIC-SAVIC

Milinkovic-Savic's agent Mateja Kezman has commenced talks with Juventus over a possible transfer from Lazio, according to Calciomercato.

The Serbian midfielder has long been a weak area since their appearance in the Champions League final in 2015, and multiple coaches in that period have not been conducive for personnel.

Lazio president Claudio Lotito famously placed an initial €100million value on Milinkovic-Savic, but it has reportedly dropped to €70m. It is perceived that price tag is still too steep a figure for Juventus, as a consequence of compatriot Dusan Vlahovic's signing in January.

It is believed that Lazio would be open to players in return as part of a packaged deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United and Arsenal have joined the race to sign Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, the Mirror reports.

- Erling Haaland has dismissed interest from Manchester United, believing they do not meet the Norwegian striker's ambitions, according to ESPN.

- Paris Saint-Germain are in talks to sign Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku, only a year after he joined the London club from Inter, per the Sun.

- Roma are interested in signing Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, Calciomercato is reporting.

- Spanish international Marco Asensio is expected to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season, per Mundo Deportivo, with Milan and Tottenham interested.

Milan boss Stefano Pioli is sick of discussing who is the favourite to win the Scudetto after his side dropped points in a 0-0 draw against Torino.

It was not a strong performance for Milan going forward, finishing with 0.8 expected goals compared to Torino's 1.1, as both teams registered three shots on target.

The result leaves Milan two points clear of Inter and Napoli, while Inter have one game in hand.

Speaking with post-game media, Pioli said he is tired of overreacting to every "misstep" from the title contenders.

"It's been two or three weeks that all those who claim to be favourites have made missteps," he said.

"Our approach was to create difficulties for Torino – with a little more clarity, we could have been more dangerous. 

"It's not for me to give percentages, I never guess. 

"Three weeks ago, during the break, we were super-favourites. Then, Napoli was super-favourite, then Inter. 

"Until the last two days there will be great balance."

Touching on his side's performance against Torino, Pioli discussed the challenge that the 11th-placed side presents.

"It is quite evident that we have done everything to move and give them few points of reference," he said.

"We knew about the difficulties of the game – Toro creates difficulties for everyone in their defensive phase. 

"It is true that we have not created very clear scoring chances, but we created many [dangerous] situations. 

"It's a moment like this, we're not very precise, [but] I can't say anything to the team for spirit and application.

"We are missing that spark, and clearly it's a positive result, but we wanted a win."

Milan opened the door for Inter to temporarily reclaim the lead of the Serie A title race as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Torino.

The Rossoneri were tasked with responding after Inter's 2-0 win over Hellas Verona on Saturday, which moved the Nerazzurri just a point adrift.

But, after seeing fellow challengers Napoli slip up with a 3-1 home defeat to Fiorentina, Milan also stumbled.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between, Milan failing to take advantage of their edge in possession.

It means Inter can go a point ahead at the top with a win at Spezia on Friday, when they kick off two hours before Milan host Genoa.

Davide Calabria's long-range effort drew a strong save from Etrit Berisha in the 24th minute before Torino midfielder Samuele Ricci fired wide of the near post at the other end.

Mike Maignan tipped over from Mergim Vojvoda five minutes after the restart as Torino created the better opportunities in the second half.

Sandro Tonali was denied by Berisha after cleverly working his way into the box, with Andrea Belotti seeing a chance to secure a shock win for Torino go begging when he fired into the side-netting on an evening where the Granata were full value for a stalemate that could prove pivotal in the battle for the Scudetto.

 

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti conceded the race for the Scudetto was no longer in his side's hands after they fell to a 3-2 loss to Fiorentina.

Dries Mertens cancelled out Nico Gonzalez's first-half opener at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, before Jonathan Ikone and Arthur Cabral put the visitors two goals to the good.

Victor Osimhen pulled one back in the closing stages for Spalletti's side, but his efforts were ultimately in vain as Napoli succumbed to their sixth league loss this season, five of which came at home.

The defeat leaves them level on points with defending champions Inter, who have played a game fewer, and two behind Serie A leaders Milan ahead of the Rossoneri facing Torino on Sunday evening.

With that deficit in mind, a visibly disappointed Spalletti acknowledged to DAZN that the race for the Serie A title was now out of Napoli's control, and they would need favours from others to win a first Scudetto since 1990.

"Yes [it changes the title race], now everything is getting harder," he said. 

"We have no choice but to be professional. Now, we think about winning the next game, even if now it depends on others and not on us."

The Italian also believes the "costly" loss to Fiorentina was undeserved.

"This is a very costly defeat and in some ways undeserved," he added. "Fiorentina played their game and earned the win, but we started strong, then tried to play too long and allowed them to take control of midfield.

"When we conceded the second goal, it all became far more difficult. We have to take some blame for what happened, but it's so disappointing because the fans, the attitude of the whole team throughout the week was the right one."

As for Napoli's disappointing home record, Spalletti claims he does not see a pattern within their home reverses, which he said should be evaluated separately.

"The matches must be evaluated game-by-game," he added.

"I don't see anything similar to the other games, I don't see a sure problem."

Napoli will look to make amends when they host Roma in Serie A on Monday, after Fiorentina became the first side to beat them twice on their own turf in one season since Lazio in 2014-15 (Fiorentina also eliminated Napoli from the Coppa Italia in Naples).

Jesse Lingard's future with Manchester United is unclear.

The 29-year-old England international is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lingard had a brilliant loan spell at West Ham United last season but has remained out of favour at Old Trafford this term.

 

TOP STORY – ITALIAN OPTIONS FOR LINGARD

Lingard could reunite with Jose Mourinho at Roma, with the Italian club joining the race for the forward, according to the Mirror.

Lingard is being pursued by West Ham following his impressive loan spell, while Newcastle United are also interested in the 29-year-old.

Serie A clubs Milan and Juventus also have an interest in Lingard, with a move to Italy offering a lucrative alternative option.

English pair Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham have enjoyed productive spells at Roma, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is on loan from Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid are moving on from their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe , who appears set to stay with Paris Saint-Germain, by turning their attention to landing Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, claims the Mirror.

- Inter will make a move to sign Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea, following his August exit from the Italian champions, reports Football Insider. Lukaku previously expressed his regret at leaving Inter.

- The Sun claims that Arsenal and Tottenham will battle to sign Leicester City midfielder James Maddison who is rated at £60million and could be put up for sale.

- Danny Ings could be on his way out of Aston Villa as manager Steven Gerrard plans a clear-out, according to the Mirror.

- CBS Sports claims Liverpool and West Ham are no longer interested in Leicester City's Youri Tielemans, leaving the door open for Manchester United to land the midfielder.

- Juventus are circling for Chelsea midfielder Jorginho , reports Tutto Mercato.

Massimiliano Allegri launched an impassioned defence of his Juventus side after they came from a goal down to beat Cagliari 2-1 in Serie A.

Juve have come in for heavy criticism of late following their Champions League elimination at the hands of Villarreal and their Derby d'Italia loss to Inter last week.

But Allegri, who saw his side move within five points of Serie A leaders Milan with a hard-fought victory in Sardinia, believes such critics are overly focused on results.

"I don't like losing, so I prefer criticism when we play badly, but still win. Nobody remembers the performance last Sunday, they only remember Inter marching towards the Scudetto, not how anybody played," Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.

"You never know, they might transform tonight's game too. The comical thing is that you in the media are always going on about beautiful football, but are also the first to focus only on the result!

"I was told that until the 75th minute against Villarreal, all the websites and social media were praising the Juventus performance. Once we conceded, Juventus were called a disaster.

"That doesn't make sense. The performance remains the same, the only thing that changed was the result. I enjoy myself hearing the criticism, but every now and then some go a bit over the top and that irritates me.

"It's not just about us, but football in general. I hope in future years people will return to talking about the ABC of football, like the first touch, shaking off your marker, etc. Italy won the World Cup four times, we have our style, but for 15 years we've been chasing after Pep Guardiola's style and didn't realise he’s changed as well."

Goals from Matthijs de Light and Dusan Vlahovic, who netted a fortuitous 75th-minute winner, earned Juve all three points after Joao Pedro gave Cagliari a surprise early lead.

Milan and Napoli, who along with Inter are a point adrift of the Rossoneri, both play on Sunday against Torino and Fiorentina respectively.

And Allegri continues to reject talk of a late Scudetto push for Juve.

"We lost a head-to-head with Inter that would've allowed us to have Scudetto ambitions," he added. "We need to be realistic. I continue to maintain Inter are the favourites, especially with their fixture list.

"Naturally, it's going to shake a team when you chase down the light at the end of the tunnel for 16 games and then it vanishes. That is why this was a very risky match, especially with players injured and suspended.

"We needed to win this evening to consolidate fourth place, reaching the final two rounds with a good advantage."

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