Mourinho puts controversial week behind him

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The Independent Football

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho wants to leave a controversial week behind him and guide his team to victory at home against Lazio this weekend.

Mourinho has admitted to having a verbal spat with Corriere dello Sport reporter Andrea Ramazzotti after Sunday's 1-1 draw at Atalanta but the Portuguese denies accusations that he committed "physical aggression" against the reporter and has refused demands by other journalists to apologise.

"I don't wish to comment on what happened," said Mourinho. "But if Mr. Ramazzotti wants to talk face-to-face, I will be available."

Mourinho is in his second season at the San Siro and though he led the club to its fourth straight Scudetto in his first year, his tenure has had its share of controversies.

The latest has led to speculation that he is considering a move away from Inter but Mourinho said: "I have a contract with Inter until 2012.

"When I signed it, I did it with the intention to respect it and that goes for Inter.

"Hence, I continue with my work."

Mourinho will return to the bench after serving a one-match touchline ban in Bergamo.

AC Milan will be hoping Lazio can surprise Inter as they look to reduce the five-point gap to their city rivals heading into the Christmas break.

The Rossoneri are coming off last weekend's 2-0 setback to Palermo, which was their first defeat in almost three months.

Leonardo's side will be put to the test when they face Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi stadium.

Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara will be under enormous pressure to take a positive result at home against rock-bottom Catania on Sunday.

The Turin outfit lost 3-1 at Bari last time out, a result which followed their 4-1 humiliation at home to Bayern Munich which ended Juve's Champions League dreams.

The Bianconeri are third, six points behind Inter.

Roma and Parma will battle it out in the Eternal City with both sides looking to be fourth heading into the Christmas break.

The Gialloblu, who gained promotion to the top flight this summer, currently hold the last Champions League qualifying spot with a three-point advantage over Roma and Sampdoria.

Genoa will be hoping to make home advantage count on Sunday when they host Bari.

Gian Piero Gasperini's side has lost just once this season at the Luigi Ferraris stadium and will be looking to reduce their four-point gap to fourth-place Parma.

Red-hot Chievo look to make it four wins in a row when they travel south to meet Napoli.

Meanwhile, Cagliari striker Alessandro Matri will make club history if he scores at Udinese on Sunday.

Matri struck for the seventh successive game in last weekend's 3-3 tie to Napoli to equal the record set by Italy great Gigi Riva 38 years ago.

Livorno will have an added motivation to beat Sampdoria knowing that a defeat could see them fall back into the drop zone.

The Amaranto are two points clear of 18th-place Atalanta, who play at Bologna.

The Bergamaschi currently lie three points behind Bologna.

Palermo will fancy their chances of beating strugglers Siena on Sunday with the Sicilian outfit having yet to lose this season at La Favorita.