Ranieri hopeful as Serie A resumes
Inter Milan coach Claudio Ranieri is hoping to replicate the feat he pulled off as Roma coach in the 2009/10 campaign by steering the struggling Nerazzurri back into this season's Scudetto battle.
Under Ranieri, Roma were in the lower reaches of the table but went on a 23-game unbeaten run and finished two points adrift of league champions Inter.
"People said of the Roma side that I inherited from [coach Luciano] Spalletti that they were finished," Ranieri said. "But then we proved them wrong by fighting with Inter for the Scudetto.
"I believe this Inter team has a lot more to give. I believe that we can make a great recovery because I see a united group that wants to try. Perhaps all the teams that are ahead of us seem unreachable today but I am confident."
I Nerazzurri, who won the Scudetto, the UEFA Champions League and the Coppa Italia in the 2009/10 campaign under former coach Jose Mourinho, have had a terrible start to the season.
In September, they parted company with coach Gian Piero Gasperini and appointed Ranieri but find themselves 17th in the standings, 13 points behind league leaders Udinese.
Inter do have a game in hand. They host Cagliari on Saturday knowing that anything but a win could see them fall into the relegation zone. They are level on eight points with 18th-placed Lecce.
The game at the San Siro, meanwhile, will mark Davide Ballardini's first in charge of Cagliari since returning to the Sardinian outfit earlier this month for a third stint. Ballardini replaced the sacked Massimo Ficcadenti before the international break.
Udinese travel to Parma looking to keep up their great run of form. They have lost just once this season. Lazio, who are level on 21 points with Udinese, face a big test when they travel to the San Paolo stadium to face Napoli on Saturday. The Romans are unbeaten away from home while Napoli have lost just once in Naples.
In-form AC Milan will look to ruin Delio Rossi's debut as coach of Fiorentina when the two sides meet in Florence on Saturday. Rossi replaced Sinisa Mihajlovic before the international break and he faces a baptism of fire with Milan riding a five-match winning streak.
Palermo travel to Turin to face unbeaten Juventus looking to claim their first win on the road this season. Roma will be bolstered by the return of captain Francesco Totti for Sunday's home game against Lecce. The veteran striker has recovered from a hamstring strain that kept him sidelined for five weeks.
Atalanta coach Stefano Colantuono will be without defender Andrea Massiello and midfielder Luca Cigarini, both suspended for Sunday's game at Siena. Catania have not lost at home this season and host a Chievo side that has failed to win on the road so far.
Cesena are rock bottom in Serie A with no wins and just three points from ten matches. They visit Bologna on Sunday. Genoa will be looking to extend their unbeaten run at the Luigi Ferraris stadium when they welcome Novara on Sunday.