Ivan Perisic hoping to spring surprise on Juventus

26 February 2016 10:23

Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic is fully focused on advancing the club's Serie A revival by beating leaders Juventus in Sunday's Derby d'Italia.

The Nerazzurri surrendered top spot to Napoli in early January and took their deposition badly, taking just six points from their next seven games as they tumbled out of the Champions League places.

In the meantime, Juve got to work dislodging Napoli from first place and they now boast a 10-point advantage over Inter, who they must also face in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia next week.

The Bianconeri won the first leg 3-0 and look set to reach the Rome final barring a surprise result at San Siro.

Perisic hopes Inter can cause the reigning Italian champions heartache in both competitions.

Ahead of the trip to Turin, the Croatia international told inter.it: "We're coming off the back of a difficult month, but we got back to winning ways against Sampdoria (a 3-1 home victory).

"We want to continue in that vein on Sunday evening.

"We're coming up against Juventus in the league in a very important game, and we'll give everything to get the victory.

"Three days later, we've got the Coppa Italia semi-final second leg. It won't be easy to overturn the score from the first game but we'll keep fighting until the last minute."

Off the field, Inter on Thursday rejected reports that president Erick Thohir is preparing to sell his 70 per cent majority stake in the club. The Indonesian insists he is merely looking for new investors.

Juve go into the derby on the back of a physically demanding Champions League meeting with Bayern Munich, which saw Paulo Dybala and Stefano Sturaro score late goals to force a 2-2 draw.

Napoli can capitalise on any misstep from the leaders by closing the one-point gap with a positive result at third-placed Fiorentina on Monday night.

A Roma team missing their disgruntled captain Francesco Totti swept Palermo aside 5-0 last time out and the veteran striker might hope to be welcomed back into the fold for Saturday's game at Empoli.

After publicly criticising coach Luciano Spalletti, the 39-year-old was dropped and had to watch from the Stadio Olimpico stands as Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah proved he is not irreplaceable.

Completing the top six are AC Milan, who checked Napoli's progress by holding them to a 1-1 draw earlier this week. Next up for the Rossoneri - unbeaten in eight matches - are struggling Torino.

Sunday sees the fight to avoid relegation intensify as improving Frosinone look to escape the bottom three by dragging Sampdoria into it with victory at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Carpi are five points adrift of 17th-placed Samp and host Atalanta, while basement boys Hellas Verona will look to chip away at their seven-point road to safety when they travel to Udinese.

Elsewhere, out-of-form Palermo entertain Bologna, Chievo welcome Genoa to Verona and Lazio attempt to replace Sassuolo in seventh place by trumping the overachieving northerners in Rome.

Source: PA