AC Milan looking for Parma win ahead of tough week
MILAN (AP) — AC Milan would like a comfortable victory at home to Parma in the Serie A on Friday to ease into one of its toughest weeks of the season.
Massimiliano Allegri's men face Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday before another expected heated derby against Inter Milan the following Sunday.
Both sides are fighting for third, with Milan trailing fourth-placed Inter by two points.
Lazio is a point further ahead and it faces struggling Siena on Monday.
"The league is a race with 38 rounds, each of which counts for three points," Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said. "The Champions League is different as you have to give the maximum to get to the next round.
"Sometimes newspapers over-hype games: They are all worth three points, even the ones against Inter and Lazio coming up. To get third place we need to pick up points and see where it gets us."
Juventus triumphed 3-0 at Celtic in the Champions League on Tuesday and it will be looking to cap an impressive week at Roma on Saturday. Second-placed Napoli hosts Sampdoria on Sunday.
Milan could decide to rest top goal-scorer Stephan El Shaarawy ahead of the Barcelona match. The young striker is Milan's most used player this season, having played over 2,000 minutes for the club.
El Shaarawy came off in the draw against Cagliari with a knee injury.
Mario Balotelli, who is cup-tied having played for Manchester City in the Champions League this season, will be looking to add to his tally of three goals — including two penalties — in two games.
"At the moment, we really need the support of the fans," Allegri said. "Tomorrow's game will also allow us to catch up, albeit momentarily, with Lazio.
"We'll see how El Shaarawy is doing today, we have to try and get him back as quickly as possible. It's unthinkable that he would have gone on scoring goals at the rate he has done so far. Thirty goals a season is an impossible target for a 20-year-old. Now he has to stay calm, it's his most difficult time, and he's under a lot of pressure."
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