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Under-fire Inter boss backed ahead of Roma clash

Under-fire Inter boss backed ahead of Roma clash

Gian Piero Gasperini's job is in danger after losing his first three games.

Milan: Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has denied that Gian Piero Gasperini's job is in danger after losing his first three games, but Saturday's home match with AS Roma will still be a huge test for the new coach.

Gasperini, Inter's third boss since Jose Mourinho left at the end of the 2009-10 treble-winning season, is coaching a major club for the first time and some fans fear he is out of his depth.

Moratti said after Wednesday's shock 1-0 home defeat to Champions League debutants Trabzonspor that there was no threat to Gasperini, a surprise appointment to replace Leonardo in the close season.

"If we start putting it like that then it becomes impossible both for the coach and the players to work," he said on Inter's website.

Such votes of confidence are often taken with a pinch of salt in football and Gazzetta dello Sport has already declared Saturday's match as decisive for the former Genoa coach.

"A defeat could prompt Moratti to make a change of direction," the Italian daily newspaper predicted.

Gasperini started out by losing to AC Milan in the season-opening Italian Super Cup match played in Beijing and saw his team and three-man defence slump to a 4-3 defeat at Palermo in their Serie A debut last Sunday.

He reverted to four at the back on Wednesday under pressure from Moratti, but the defeat against the Turkish side has dented Inter's chances of making the last-16.

Gasperini is unlikely to cut much ice with his explanation that the team tried hard but were unlucky.

SHOULDER INJURY

"They put in a lot of effort and I saw important performances, but unfortunately we didn't have much luck on our side," he said.

"However, I saw an angry reaction on Inter's part. I saw a group that reacts and also tonight showed how much desire they have to do well."

New Roma coach Luis Enrique is in a far from comfortable situation himself with a home defeat to Cagliari on his Serie A debut following Europa League elimination at the hands of Slovan Bratislava.

So far, Roma have looked nothing like his former club Barcelona, who he wants his side to imitate.

The weekend's matches are officially listed as matchday three, although as a player strike caused the opening weekend to be postponed, they are in effect matchday two.

The other highlight is on Sunday when champions AC Milan visit Napoli, who finished third last term and kicked off with a 3-1 win on Cesena's artificial pitch last weekend before Wednesday's 1-1 debut Champions League draw at Manchester City.

AC Milan, held at home by Lazio last week, are without midfielder Massimo Ambrosini, who is out for two-to-three weeks with a shoulder injury following the 2-2 Champions League draw at Real Madrid.

Juventus, with no European action to distract them, visit Siena hoping to show their opening 4-1 win at home to Parma was not just a flash in the pan.

first published:September 16, 2011, 01:18 IST