'There's no time to sit and mope' – Inter Milan attempt to refocus after Champions League blow

Captain Handanovic insists team have to immediatley pick themselves up ahead of Serie A clash with Cagliari

SERIE A FIXTURES

Friday Sassuolo v Benevento (Kick-off 11.45pm)

Saturday Crotone v Spezia (6pm), Torino v Udinese (9pm), Lazio v Verona (11.45pm)

Sunday Cagliari v Inter Milan (3.30pm), Atalanta v Fiorentina (6pm), Napoli v Sampdoria (6pm), Bologna v Roma (6pm), Genoa v Juventus (9pm), AC Milan v Parma (11.45pm)

Inter Milan turn their focus back to Serie A after their disastrous Champions League exit with a trip to Cagliari awaiting on Sunday.

Leaving the competition for a third consecutive year was was a shock for Antonio Conte's expensively-assembled side, who are the top scorers domestically with 26 goals in 10 games.

Inter have spent nearly €300 million ($363m) in the past two years on new signings and their exit from Europe will hit hard.

"There's a lot of regret," said Conte after their goalless draw with Shakhtar Donetsk that meant Real Madrid and Borussia Monchengladbach qualified for the last 16. "We haven't had much luck in the Champions League given certain incidents and refereeing decisions.

"Now that we are out, I feel I have to say this. It seems to me that Inter have not been respected, if you go back and look at the situations that have not been reviewed or evaluated."

But captain Samir Handanovic warned that despite the frustration of finishing bottom of Group B, the club has to immediately refocus.

“We gave everything," he said. "It was a balanced group, we lost the opportunity in Kiev and today. We had to do better, but there is no time to cry.

"There's no time to sit and mope. We have to focus on the league and the Coppa Italia."

Conte's side are second in Serie A, five points behind leaders AC Milan, with the two city rivals trying to deny Juventus a 10th consecutive league title.

In his second campaign, Conte now has no choice but to deliver a 19th Scudetto for Inter, which would be their first since 2010.

The former Juventus and Chelsea manager took Inter to second in Serie A and the Europa League final in his first season.

AC Milan are riding high as they also target a 19th Scudetto and first since 2011.

Top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic could return against Parma after a muscle injury ruled him out of their last two league games.

Juventus, Lazio and Atalanta return to league action having all secured their passes to the Champions League knockout rounds.

Juventus, six points behind Milan in fourth, travel to lowly Genoa after their confidence-boosting 3-0 win at troubled Barcelona in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice.

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Juve v Barca player ratings

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"Playing like this, we have nothing to fear until the end of the season," the triumphant Portugal captain said after the game.

As for getting one over his old La Liga foe Lionel Messi, Ronaldo said:  "I have always had a very cordial relationship with him. I shared 12, 13 or 14 years of award ceremonies with him. I never saw him as a rival.

"He always tries to do what is best for his team and me too. I always got along very well with him.

"But we know that in football, for the press, for the show, a rivalry is sought, but I have always gotten along well with him."

Seventh-placed Lazio host Hellas Verona, who are just one point behind the Roman club, with Atalanta, in ninth, hosting Fiorentina.

Tuscan side Fiorentina are hovering above the relegation zone and hoping for a first win since October 25 against Atalanta, who have taken just five points in their last six games.

Atalanta's Josip Ilicic is hoping for a first league goal this season against his former club.

The 32-year-old was out for two months with personal problems after the coronvirus lockdown, but got his first goal in the Champions League win over Liverpool two weeks ago.

Illcic played 105 matches with Fiorentina in Serie A between 2013 and 2017, before joining Atalanta where he had his best season last campaign with 15 league goals.

Third-placed Napoli, looking for a first win in their newly-named Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, host Sampdoria.

Gennaro Gattuso's side are six points behind Milan, having scored eight goals in their last two games against Roma and Crotone.

Sassuolo host Benevento on Friday looking to regain some of their early momentum, having dropped to fifth in the table as Roma head to Bologna just a point behind Roberto De Zerbi's flamboyant side.

SERIE A FIXTURES

Friday Sassuolo v Benevento (Kick-off 11.45pm)

Saturday Crotone v Spezia (6pm), Torino v Udinese (9pm), Lazio v Verona (11.45pm)

Sunday Cagliari v Inter Milan (3.30pm), Atalanta v Fiorentina (6pm), Napoli v Sampdoria (6pm), Bologna v Roma (6pm), Genoa v Juventus (9pm), AC Milan v Parma (11.45pm)

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