All roads lead to Rome for double-chasing Juventus
All roads lead to Rome this week for Juventus who will look to seal the Italian Cup and Serie A double in the space of four days at the Stadio Olimpico.
Massimiliano Allegri's Turin giants take on his former club AC Milan in the Italian Cup final on Wednesday, and on Sunday play AS Roma needing just one point to rubberstamp a seventh successive Serie A title.
Milan have not won a major trophy since Allegri led them to the Serie A title in 2011.
Beaten twice by Juventus in the league this season, the club's last Italian Cup trophy dates back to the playing days of coach Gennaro Gattuso in 2003.
"They want to start winning silverware again and we want to bring this trophy back to Turin for a fourth straight year," said Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic as his side target a 13th Cup title.
"We really wanted to win every trophy available this year. Unfortunately, we are out of the Champions League, but we are well-positioned in the league and winning the Coppa Italia is another goal of ours."
Milan are also looking to ensure Europa League action next season as they sit sixth in Serie A and are one of three teams fighting for the remaining European berth.
Midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura credited Gattuso with building team confidence since the former AC Milan player took over last November.
"The coach has given me a lot of confidence, not only me but the entire team," said Bonaventura. "He has believed in us from the moment he arrived and we're grateful."
And Turkish midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu said his side were desperate for a win which would also ensure a Europa League spot next season.
"We want to win this trophy," Calhanoglu, who arrived from Bayer Leverkusen at the start of the season told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"It's something that would change our outlook and the whole season. It would change everything," he continued.
"The match in Turin, but also the one in Milan, showed that we can beat Juventus. We can do it.
"We know their strength well, they have great players but there's a lot of quality in our group too.
"A danger man? Douglas Costa. I know him from my time in Germany, he's quick, smart and can change games but if we play as a team we can stop him.
"We can beat them with mentality, that?s the most important factor. With the collective and with the heart."
Juventus have been handed a boost as Mario Mandzukic, Mattia De Sciglio and Stefano Sturaro have returned from injury while Milan midfielder Lucas Biglia looks set to return from a back problem.
© 2018 AFP