MILAN (Reuters) – The pressure will be on for both coaches when AS Roma and AC Milan meet on Saturday with the two sides stuck in a mid-season rut (Saturday 1945 GMT).
Italian media say that Sinisa Mihajlovic has been given two games to avoid becoming the fourth Milan coach to be fired in the space of two years.
Rudi Garcia’s position at Roma is scarcely more comfortable after winning once in their last nine outings, a run which included the 6-1 Champions League drubbing by Barcelona which reportedly had club president James Pallotta seething.
Both teams compounded their misfortune on Wednesday by failing to chalk up what should have been routine wins.
Instead, Roma were held 3-3 at Chievo after twice letting slip the lead while Milan missed a hatful of chances before losing 1-0 at home to a Bologna side coached by the club’s old favourite, former winger Roberto Donadoni.
“We’re fully aware of the situation, but in these moments it’s important that we don’t get carried away and that we stay united,” said Mihajlovic, in his first season at Milan after his move from Sampdoria.
“We have to work hard and we will try and do well away at Roma.
“It’s normal for there to be pressure at Milan and that has always been the case. It’s only right and we have to get used to it,” he added.
“We have to be able to perform even in these type of situations. I never give up, that’s the least of my problems: the lion does not lose his sleep.”
Despite their poor run, Milan are seventh with 28 points and Mihajlovic is still hoping to take them back to the Champions League after an absence of two seasons.
Roma, meanwhile, are fifth and only six points behind leaders Inter as Serie A reaches the halfway mark. But fans are already impatient after a similar slump at the same stage last season which cost them any chance of challenging Juventus for the title. The eventually recovered to finish second.
Wednesday’s draw was made worse for Roma when the top four Inter Milan, Fiorentina, Napoli and Juventus all won, although the leading quarter may not get things all their own way at the weekend.
Leaders Inter (on 39 points) face sixth placed Sassuolo (Sunday 1130) who have improved immeasurably since losing the corresponding fixture 7-0 early last season.
Fiorentina (38 points) host 10th-placed Lazio (Saturday 1700) while Napoli, who are alongside Paulo Sousa’s team in second place, visit promoted Frosinone (Sunday 1400) in what looks to be a straightforward match.
Titleholders Juventus, who are fourth with 36 points after winning their last eight league games, visit a Sampdoria side buoyed by their 3-2 derby win over Genoa on Tuesday (Sunday 1945).
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)