Tensions are running high between
Fiorentina coach Sinisa Mihajlovic and a group of the club's
supporters, with the next episode set for Sunday when they team
visit Chievo in Serie A.
Leaders Juventus take their unbeaten record to Napoli on
Sunday while struggling Inter Milan will attempt to
bounce back from last weekend's loss at home to Juve when they
Mihajlovic has been given the club's backing after he was
jeered by a section of the crowd during last week's 1-0 win over
Genoa, the hostile reaction including ethnic taunts against the
former Yugoslavia international.
"The club cannot accept degrading behaviour, nor gratuitous
vulgarity, aggravated by racism, and expresses its solidarity
and support with Sinisa Mihajlovic, victim of shameful and
intolerable attacks," Fiorentina said in a statement.
General manager Vincenzo Guerini added his own appeal: "I
appeal to the Fiesole Curva to stop the jeering and offensive
chanting against Mihajlovic.
"There was a sad atmosphere after the Genoa game, as if we
had lost the match... those insults are not part of our
Italian media said there had been a slight thaw in the
tension on Wednesday with fans leaving a banner at the club
headquarters apologising for the insults - although they still
reserved the right to criticise the coach with Fiorentina down
in 10th after a poor season last term.
"We argue with the coach but we respect you as a man," said
the banner. In return, Mihajlovic agreed to open up a practice
match to the public.
Mihajlovic, who had a notoriously short fuse as a player,
took over at Fiorentina at the start of last season when Cesare
Prandelli left to take charge of the Italian national side.
The former Catania and Bologna coach managed a ninth place
in his first season and his side have made an uninspiring start
this term, with three wins, three draws and three defeats.
However, it is his team's perceived lack of adventure which
upsets the supporters as much as their results.
Juventus coach Antonio Conte once again finds himself under
pressure to include talismanic Alessandro Del Piero in the side
for the visit to erratic Napoli.
The 36-year-old has not started any of Juve's last six
matches since being substituted at halftime in the match against
Bologna, making only fleeting late appearances from the bench.
Juventus lead with 19 points from nine games, one point
ahead Udinese and Lazio who are both at home, against Siena and
Parma respectively on Sunday.
In-form Milan, a further point behind after four wins in a
row, host Catania without suspended midfield pair Kevin-Prince
Boateng and Antonio Nocerino, who have both scored hat-tricks in
They also have to come to terms with the absence of striker
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