MILAN (Reuters) – Talking points from the Serie A weekend where Juventus won 2-0 at AC Milan to stay six points clear at the top, ahead of Napoli who came from behind to beat Genoa 2-1 away.
Schick finally off the mark for Roma
AS Roma forward Patrik Schick scored his first goal of the season in the 4-1 win over his former club Sampdoria, raising hopes that the 22-year-old can finally flourish after a frustrating, injury-plagued first 18 months at the club.
“He needs to find that spark but scoring will no doubt boost his confidence, He’s got great quality,” said coach Eusebio Di Francesco, adding that the Czech seemed suitable to a central striking role.
“He’s got the ability to play there. Last season, against Barcelona, I played him near to Edin Dzeko in a 3-4-3 formation. He’s very capable in certain situations and when attacking the goal.
“We could well see him playing alongside Dzeko again, so we can get more bodies into the penalty box. He’s quick, energetic and has good technical ability – he can play in many different roles.”
Atalanta back in their familiar role
After a poor start to the season, Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta are back in their familiar role as Serie A’s dark horses.
Sunday’s 4-1 win over Inter Milan was their fourth league win in a row and lifted them to seventh.
“For a while at the start of the season, we just couldn’t get the ball in the net and we paid a heavy price for that,” said Gasperini.
“We are playing with precision and pace, which means we don’t have to run as hard and can make the opposition work harder.”
Tension mounts at Genoa
Genoa’s 2-1 defeat by Napoli was their fifth match without a win since Ivan Juric replaced Davide Ballardini as coach last month, prompting speculation that the Croat’s third stint at the club could come to an quick end.
Fans protested against club president Enrico Preziosi during Saturday’s game and Juric lost his cool afterwards, swearing at a reporter who asked him to comment on his future.
On Monday, however, Preziosi hinted at a reprieve, at least until next Sunday’s derby against Sampdoria. “We had a great performance against Napoli,” he said. “We were unlucky – now let’s focus on the derby.”
Bonucci surprised at being left out
Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci admitted he was surprised at being left out of the team for Sunday’s Serie A match at AC Milan, where he spent last season.
“Anyone who knows me is aware that I’d never hold back faced with a game like this,” said Bonucci. “These are the games where I get really motivated, but it’s part of the rotation.”
Torino got it all wrong, says angry Mazzarri
Torino coach Walter Mazzarri was again in a bad mood after his team lost 2-1 at home to Parma, but this time his anger was directed at himself and his team rather than the video assistant referee (VAR) system which is usually the target of his complaints.
“We got it all wrong in training this week, including myself, and we are not mature enough to approach every match in the same way,” said the former Napoli, Inter and Watford coach.
“We seem to enjoy giving away early goals at home and complicating things on our own. We need to reflect because we can’t start like that.
“We were terrible — I’m very angry, nothing worked for us. The international break will be tougher and longer than usual.”
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge)