Roma, Napoli set to keep up great run
Roma and Napoli face an easy mid-week Serie A round after winning big matches that kept them on a perfect point tally at the top of the Italian league.
Roma, on 12 points from four games and a better goal difference, visit struggling Sampdoria on Wednesday after defeating Lazio 2-0 in the Rome city derby to confirm the fast game they have developed under new coach Rudi Garcia.
Like his Spanish colleague Rafael Benitez, who arrived in the summer at Napoli, the Frenchman Garcia is not promising the fans a title the Giallorossi last lifted in 2001.
“Our goal is to finish in the top five,” Garcia said. “I am ambitious too, but we will see. We have not yet played enough games to know what is our true level, but I like the team and our fans.
“(Champions) Juventus, AC Milan and Napoli play a European tournament (Champions League), which takes energies and we hope that this can be an advantage for us.”
Napoli is at home to zero-point newcomers Sassuolo after worsening the troubles of Milan (four points) with a 2-1 triumph there.
“We did a good team work and this is our strength,” Benitez said. “We were at our 72 per cent, now (after beating Milan) we are at 73, but we can still improve.
“There are many little things to perfect to win more games, but our character is the right one. We must continue like this until the end. This was our fifth straight win and we are happy.”
Beside their great pace in the Serie A, Napoli also clinched a memorable 2-1 win over last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last week.
Holders Juventus have not enjoyed such a sparkling start and on Wednesday look to keep improving as they visit Chievo with a two-point gap from the top.
The Turin Bianconeri is level on 10 points with Inter and Fiorentina, who meet in a top-billing game on Thursday.
Milan is without the suspended Mario Balotelli, plus a dozen injured players, when they visit Bologna on Wednesday. The day’s other games are Lazio v Catania, Parma v Atalanta, Livorno v Cagliari and Torino v Verona, while Udinese and Genoa open the round on Tuesday.