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Inter on brink of treble

ROME, May 14 – After nine months and 37 matches the Serie A title race has come down to one last game with Inter Milan leading AS Roma by two points.Inter are bidding to become the first Italian team to win the treble having secured the Italian Cup just over a week ago — beating Roma 1-0 in the final — and with the Champions League final to come on May 22 in Madrid against Bayern Munich.

First up they will try to secure the scudetto with an away match against already-relegated Siena.

Inter know that a victory will be enough to ensure a fifth straight crown but anything less than the three points and they will have to rely on Roma slipping up away to Chievo as the capital-based club has the better head-to-head record against the champions.

But despite having just two matches remaining in this dream season, Inter have been struggling to concentrate on matters at hand, largely due to coach Jose Mourinho.

Speculation is rife that these will be his last two matches in charge of the Italians with a move to Real Madrid mooted for next season.

Both he and the club are repeatedly asked about his future and Mourinho hardly helped matters by telling a weekly magazine, Panorama: "What they are writing that I have a foot half in Spain and half in Milan is false. It’s true I will coach Real Madrid.

"I’ve coached a big club in England (Chelsea), I’m coaching a big club in Italy and I will coach one in Spain."

Mourinho did not specify when he would go to Spain, but his timing has hardly served to quash the rumours.

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It’s not just Mourinho’s future that has had a potentially distracting influence on Inter’s preparations as he also courted controversy following the Cup final victory.

Mourinho said that Roma could offer the win bonuses they didn’t have to pay their players for their defeat in the final to Siena as an incentive to beat Inter on the final day of the season.

Roma responded by claiming they would look into the possibility of taking legal action while the Italian Football League said it would investigate Mourinho’s comments.

Even so, Inter have the experience and the desire to see them through and it is hard to imagine them slipping up against a team such as Siena.

And Mourinho himself has his sights set firmly on his goals: "Right now I have two objectives: winning at Siena to secure the scudetto and doing the same against Bayern to lift the Champions League trophy up to the skies."

Roma’s Chile midfielder David Pizarro says the team will simply concentrate on ensuring their part of the bargain.

"We know that it’s going to be very difficult to win the title. For us the important thing is to win on Sunday and then hope," he said.

"We’re delighted with what we’ve done this season and if we do win it would be ideal."

The title is not the only issue to be decided on Sunday as Sampdoria and Palermo are still fighting for fourth place and Champions League football next season.

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Sampdoria are two points ahead but host Napoli in a tricky match while Palermo are away to already-relegated Atalanta.

If Sampdoria fail to win and Palermo do so it is the Sicilians who will take fourth spot.

At the bottom Atalanta, Siena and Livorno are already down while two matches were moved from Sunday to Saturday to avoid clashing with potential title celebrations.

Juventus’s visit to AC Milan and Lazio’s game at home to Udinese were both brought forward 24 hours to avoid the potential for rival Milan and Inter or Roma and Lazio fans clashing on the streets after the games.

Fixtures:

Saturday

AC Milan v Juventus, Lazio v Udinese

Sunday

Atalanta v Palermo, Bari v Fiorentina, Cagliari v Bologna, Catania v Genoa, Chievo v AS Roma, Parma v Livorno, Sampdoria v Napoli, Siena v Inter Milan

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