Milan head coach Stefano Pioli revealed he showed his players an interview with the late basketball great Kobe Bryant to try and inspire them to the Scudetto.

The Rossoneri went within one point of clinching the Serie A title with a 2-0 win over Atalanta at San Siro on Sunday thanks to second half goals from Rafael Leao and Theo Hernandez.

Boasting a head-to-head advantage over Inter, the Rossoneri will be confirmed as champions if they avoid defeat when they travel to Sassuolo for their final Serie A match of the season next Sunday.

Inter kept their hopes of retaining their crown alive with a 3-1 victory at Cagliari and take on Sampdoria are home next weekend.

Pioli explained how he is trying to keep the players focused, including showing them words from NBA legend Bryant.

"It's been a year that the fans excite me with their affection," he told DAZN. "How am I living these weeks? In a normal way, because I see the right attitude and the attention you need. And I see my players focused and serene.

"I showed them the interview in which Kobe Bryant said that at 2-0 the work is not finished... and it must also apply to us. We remain focused and determined, there is still a week left. I've forbidden everyone to make plans for tonight."

 

Atalanta kept Milan honest in the contest, having nine shots in the second half as they tried to get back into it, but the leaders stood firm.

"I am very satisfied because we played against a strong team, conceding little," Pioli added. "We were able to find solutions and create spaces.

"My players were good at not losing lucidity and to always believe in them... How do we feel? The [recent 3-1] victory against Verona has given us even more confidence and awareness, every time we try to cover up our defects and enhance our qualities."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was an unused substitute despite the 40-year-old being out of contract at the end of the season, meaning this may have been his last chance to feature in front of the Milan fans, though he has not yet confirmed his intentions.

"I needed other players on the pitch," Pioli clarified. "Zlatan wanted to play but he understood."

Goals from Rafael Leao and Theo Hernandez put Milan on the brink of their first Serie A title in 11 years as Stefano Pioli's men claimed a 2-0 win over Atalanta.

After both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances in a nervy first-half, Leao broke clear to open the scoring, and Hernandez capped an incredible run with a fine left-footed finish to provoke jubilant scenes at San Siro.

Boasting a head-to-head advantage over Inter, the Rossoneri will be confirmed as champions if the second-placed Nerazzurri fail to beat Cagliari later on Sunday.

If Inter do pick up maximum points, Milan will only need to avoid defeat at Sassuolo on the final day of the season to clinch their 19th Scudetto after winning their fifth consecutive Serie A contest.

Sandro Tonali dragged a long-range effort wide as both sides made a tentative start to the game, before in-form forward Leao clipped a tame effort into Juan Musso's arms.

Luis Muriel drew a smart save from Mike Maignan from distance after half an hour, before Leao sent a wild effort high and wide as Milan struggled to create first-half opportunities.

Atalanta went close when Davide Zappacosta's effort deflected over within three minutes of the restart, before Hernandez came within inches of breaking the deadlock when he hit a 30-yard free-kick into the side-netting. 

But Milan made the all-important breakthrough after 56 minutes, Leao racing onto Junior Messias' pass to finish neatly through the legs of Musso, with the furious visitors believing Matteo Pessina was fouled in the build-up.

Hernandez then sealed the victory with a goal worthy of deciding any title race, picking the ball up near his own box and driving towards the Atalanta area before finishing into the bottom-right corner, leaving Milan within touching distance of glory.

Stefano Pioli says he "doesn't care" about Inter's match at Cagliari as he urged his Milan side to focus on their own game in their quest to win Serie A.

the  Rossoneri could secure the Scudetto on Sunday if they beat Atalanta and their city rivals fail to defeat Cagliari.

Pioli's team have 80 points, two clear of Inter at the summit with two games left to play as the fierce rivals battle for the title.

Victory over Atalanta, who are unbeaten on their past seven league visits to face the Rossoneri, would mark the first time Milan have managed more than 80 points in a campaign since the title-winning 2010-11 term.

It would also leave Milan requiring just a point in their final game to win the league at Sassuolo; the leaders boasting a favourable head-to-head record over Inter, who host Sampdoria on the last day.

Head coach Pioli, speaking at a pre-match news conference on Saturday, reiterated that his thoughts remains solely with Milan and not on what Simone Inzaghi's team do.

"I don't care, I'm not thinking about what Inter can do," he said. "We don't need any other motivation because we are already at our best from this point of view.

"We don't have to think any further, we have to think about 17:59 tomorrow, when the match will start. We have to keep thinking only about the match, what will happen next will depend on how the match will be.

"Then what will happen, will happen, we have the strength to be able to determine our own path. I think the team will face the match with great awareness, both of the moment and of their qualities.

"We have overcome many stages, positive and negative, which have helped us to grow. We have been very good up to now, we will have to be better from here to the end."

 

Gian Piero Gasperini was unsure if he will still be at Atalanta next season because "things have changed a bit" at the club. 

Atalanta were fifth in Serie A at the end of March, but a run of two wins in seven has seen them slip to seventh, 10 points adrift of the top four.

That would only be enough for qualification to the Europa Conference League play-off round, which would be a disappointment after successive seasons in the Champions League. 

Atalanta were acquired by a group of investors based in the United States in February, and Gasperini refused to confirm he would still be in position next season. 

"Regardless of myself or the players, I always hope Atalanta will do better – even more so than we have done in recent years. It's already been a success to be known all over the world," Gasperini told Sky Sport Italia after Sunday's 3-1 win at Spezia.

"I signed a contract renewal in November, but it's clear that things have changed a bit and it will depend on what the club decides. 

"We haven't talked about it. I'm so grateful to Atalanta that I'll be happy with any solution. If we go forward like this, I'll continue with enthusiasm." 

Three matchdays remain in Serie A, and yet there is plenty still to be decided at both ends of the table – not least which side will be crowned champions.

Milan occupy top spot in their quest for a first Scudetto since 2011, but fierce rivals Inter are just two points behind and arguably have an easier set of fixtures to conclude the campaign.

Napoli and Juventus are not officially out of the title race just yet, though they are seven and eight points off first place respectively, therefore requiring a remarkable set of results.

Both Napoli and Juventus are already assured of a top-four finish, but there are several other teams still battling it out for the three remaining European spots.

Venezia appear doomed at the opposite end of the table after losing to fellow strugglers Salernitana on Thursday, with the latter's victory lifting them out of the bottom three – in all, six teams remain in trouble.

But just how will the remaining two and a half weeks of the season unfold? Using the Stats Perform League Prediction Model, we can try to forecast the final standings.

Created by Stats Perform AI using Opta data, the model has analysed the division to assign percentages to potential outcomes for each club.

The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) based on teams' attacking and defensive qualities, which considers four years' worth of results.

Weighting is based on recency and the quality of opposition, with the rest of the matches then simulated 10,000 times to calculate the likelihood of each outcome.

Let's take a look...

 

MILAN TO SEE THE JOB THROUGH

Milan still have Hellas Verona (ninth), Atalanta (eighth) and Sassuolo (11th) to face, whereas Inter's final fixtures are against Empoli (14th), Cagliari (18th) and Sampdoria (15th).

However, it is worth noting that if they finish level on points, Milan would be crowned champions by virtue of a superior head-to-read record against their rivals this term.

With that in mind, while Inter are only two points behind, they essentially need to take three more points than Milan over the final three matchdays.

And our model suggests the Rossoneri have a 62 per cent chance of retaining top spot, compared to a 37.7 per cent chance of defending champions Inter overtaking them.

Just to highlight how unlikely it is either Napoli or Juventus will pip the current top two to the summit, they have a 0.2 and 0.1 per cent chance of winning the title respectively.

A ROME ONE-TWO FOR EUROPA LEAGUE?

The Champions League places may now officially be wrapped up, but five teams are still battling it out for the three remaining European berths.

The sides that finish in fifth and sixth, currently occupied by Roma and Lazio, will qualify for the Europa League group stage.

Roma, according to the model, have a 59.1 per cent chance of nailing down fifth place – though if they were to drop to seventh, the Europa Conference League finalists could get into the Europa League by winning UEFA's third-tier competition.

Lazio would take great enjoyment from finishing above their neighbours and have a 36.9 per cent chance of doing so.

The first priority for Maurizio Sarri will be locking down sixth, though, and there is a 46.7 per cent likelihood of achieving that with Fiorentina three points further back.

ATALANTA TO PIP FIORENTINA

While the top six are forecast to remain where they are, our model predicts seventh-placed Fiorentina will miss out to Atalanta in the Europa Conference League play-off position.

After losing three games in a row, La Viola now have a 31.2 per cent chance of staying seventh, compared to 47.6 for Atalanta, whom they are currently level with on 56 points.

Verona are four points further back and that appears to be too big a gap to bridge, with the Gialloblu seemingly certain to remain in eighth.

Indeed, the 80.8 per cent likelihood of Verona finishing in that position is bettered only by the chances of Empoli staying 14th (90.2 per cent) and Venezia remaining bottom (87.4 per cent) given the points margin either side.

VENEZIA AND TWO OTHERS TO DESCEND

Thursday's 2-1 defeat away to Salernitana looks to have spelled the end for Venezia's brief stint back in the top flight as it leaves them seven points from safety. Their chances of escaping the drop sit at 0.1 per cent.

Salernitana still have a 36.2 per cent chance of dropping into the bottom three, but given they face the team directly below them – Cagliari – and Empoli in their next two games, they will surely like those odds.

Another win for Salernitana on Sunday would be massive at the bottom, as such a result will relegate Venezia and potentially Genoa, whom the model gives only a 1.2 per cent likelihood of climbing up to 17th.

Spezia and Sampdoria aren't quite out of the woods yet, but their five-point cushions should be enough to keep them in Serie A. Everything points to Sunday's contest being almost a straight relegation play-off between Salernitana and Cagliari.

The model suggests with a 63.3 per cent probability that Cagliari will go down, but their fate is in their own hands.

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini blasted the "absolute confusion" of the refereeing performance in his side's Europa League quarter-final exit to RB Leipzig on Thursday.

La Dea had high hopes following their draw in the first leg, but a Christopher Nkunku brace handed Leipzig a 2-0 win instead, with the German side going through 3-1 on aggregate.

With Atlanta down 1-0 on Thursday, however, Antonio Mateu Lahoz waved away what appeared to be a handball from Leipzig's Dani Olmo and also waved away the consequent call for a VAR review.

Nkunku then punished Atalanta for a second time in transition, while Gasperini was left to bemoan the lack of consistency in refereeing interpretation and decision-making with the tie in the balance.

"The strange thing is that he [Mateu Lahoz] gave a punishment that for me was a less obvious foul than it was a penalty. There is absolute confusion on handballs," he said. "The referee himself, in 30 seconds, evaluates the first instance more serious than the second which is much clearer.

"Well, it's not like you can cancel it [from context]. We had a good match, we conceded something, as is normal in these matches. There are goal situations on both sides in Europe. Everyone has an important attacking quality. It wasn't the defence that penalised us."

According to the 64-year-old, the penalty reinforced Atalanta's need to chase the result, which played into the fast, dynamic and ultimately reactive RB Leipzig's hands.

"It is always like this," he said. "They have pace and speed, they play very tightly and then go on the counter-attack.

"Sometimes they do them very well, we attacked for a very long time and unfortunately in recent weeks we have had difficulty in finding the final pass, the decisive shot. Even if for long stretches it was an excellent match for Atalanta."

Champions League qualification is likely unattainable now for La Dea, who sit 12 points off fourth-placed Juventus in Serie A, but are also four points behind Lazio in the Conference League playoff spot. They face Hellas Verona on Monday.

Christopher Nkunku scored twice in Bergamo as RB Leipzig's 2-0 win over Atalanta carried the in-form Bundesliga side through to the Europa League semi-finals.

The France striker was on hand to tuck home an early chance, a predator's goal, and his late penalty sealed a 3-1 aggregate triumph, raising the possibility of Leipzig lifting a first European trophy in their history.

Head coach Domenico Tedesco has transformed Leipzig's fortunes since replacing Jesse Marsch in December and the German visitors had too much for their Italian hosts here.

After seven goals in the Champions League this season, Nkunku now has three in this competition. Two years after a Champions League semi-final defeat to Paris Saint-Germain, the German outfit are back at the business end of a European campaign.

Atalanta's Davide Zappacosta drew a decent early save from Leipzig captain Peter Gulacsi, who got down well to block a low shot at his near post.

Leipzig then took the all-important 18th-minute lead when Konrad Laimer was allowed to run 50 yards unchallenged along the right flank and into the Atalanta penalty area, before cutting back for Nkunku to smash in off the right post from close range.

Dani Olmo had a chip comfortably caught by Juan Musso as Leipzig sought a second goal, while at the other end a low shot from Jeremie Boga was blocked.

Atalanta wanted a penalty early in the second half when Ruslan Malinovskiy's powerful free-kick hit Olmo on the arm, and it looked a credible shout, yet the hosts were denied after a VAR review.

Laimer almost added a second for Leipzig when a rapid counter-attack ended with Musso seemingly making a mess of reading his defenders' intentions, having to scramble to keep the lead down to one goal.

Nkunku was sharp for Leipzig and wriggled through to create a chance for himself as Musso blocked at the cost of a corner. As Atalanta became increasingly desperate, a foul by Musso on Nkunku gave the striker a chance to finish the tie, which he took by firing high into the left corner.

RB Leipzig and Atalanta shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday to set up a winner-takes-all decider in Bergamo.

Domenico Tedesco's Bundesliga side made it 10 games unbeaten across all competitions with a 4-1 thumping of Borussia Dortmund on Saturday but found themselves behind at the Red Bull Arena when Luis Muriel struck after 17 minutes.

Gian Piero Gasperini's visitors thought they had escaped lightly when Andre Silva saw his penalty saved by Juan Musso after the break, but Davide Zappacosta miscued into his own goal to restore parity.

Neither team could find a late winner, with Teun Koopmeiners and Dominik Szoboszlai denied by the woodwork, which leaves it all to play for in the return leg next Thursday.

Christopher Nkunku skewed a half-chance wide from Benjamin Henrichs' mishit strike in an otherwise uneventful opening to the contest.

But Muriel sparked the tie into life when he ghosted inside from the left flank before expertly whipping into the top-right corner for his fourth goal in European competition this season, his best tally.

Muriel almost repeated the trick shortly after but his left-footed drive narrowly evaded the far corner, before the woodwork denied Silva and Mario Pasalic at either end.

Peter Gulacsi pushed away a teasing Muriel curler from range after the interval, before Merih Demiral needlessly felled Nkunku inside the area.

Musso denied Silva's spot-kick before an excellent reflex save thwarted Willi Orban on the rebound, but Leipzig equalised moments later when Zappacosta inadvertently turned Angelino's cross into his own net.

Gulacsi then tipped a low Koopmeiners effort onto the post and Szoboszlai headed onto the crossbar, while Lukas Klostermann saw a late strike denied on the line following a goalmouth scramble from Emil Forsberg's corner as neither side could be separated.

Barcelona have asserted they will not break the bank in pursuit of Erling Haaland, but they remain keen on a striker to help Xavi's rebuild.

Robert Lewandowski is seen as a potential option if does not extend his deal at Bayern Munich.

According to reports, Lewandowski is weighing up his options, as Barcelona prepare themselves for a possible move.

 

TOP STORY – DEST TO BE USED AS MAKEWEIGHT?

Sergino Dest will be added as a sweetener to get a potential deal for Bayern's Lewandowski to Barcelona over the line, Sport reports.

Bayern already made a transfer request during the previous off-season's transfer window for the 21-year-old United States international, who has struggled for consistent minutes since Xavi took over as coach in November.

While a combination of Ronald Araujo, Dani Alves and Oscar Mingueza have all filled in at right back this season, Dest has been increasingly viewed as expendable under Xavi's tenure.

Lewandowski's contract runs out in 2023, but a move at the end of this season is still on the cards. Barca could use Dest to partly subsidise what is sure to be a huge asking price.

 

ROUND-UP

– The agent of Chelsea and Germany forward Timo Werner has been in Italy meeting with representatives from MilanJuventus and Atalanta, according to Corriere dello Sport.

– Ajax and Netherlands midfielder Ryan Gravenberch has agreed personal terms with Bayern Munich, per Bild.

– The Mirror is reporting senior figures at Inter are now more open to the idea of a return for Chelsea and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku.

– Villarreal and Netherlands winger Arnaut Danjuma is viewed by Liverpool as a potential replacement for Sadio Mane, Goal has reported, but the Reds are not expected to make a bid until 2023.

Napoli head coach Luciano Spalletti has said his team understands they are "playing for the happiness of a city" after an impressive 3-1 victory away to Atalanta put them level on points with Serie A leaders Milan.

A penalty from Lorenzo Insigne and a Matteo Politano free-kick saw the Naples side 2-0 up at half-time, only for Marten de Roon to halve the deficit just before the hour mark at Gewiss Stadium.

However, a well-taken goal on the counter-attack from Elif Elmas late on after neat work from Hirving Lozano was enough to secure the three points and give Napoli their third league win in a row.

The victory means Spalletti's men are on 66 points, the same as leaders Milan though having played a game more, with the Rossoneri hosting Bologna on Monday.

"We have come out of difficult situations this season, but at this point here, there is no turning back," Spalletti told DAZN after the win.

"We suffered again today, at the beginning of both halves, [but] the team began to turn and even when Atalanta responded, the team did not disunite, on the contrary, we went in search of the third goal, which shows how we have grown."

 

Napoli, who were missing star striker Victor Osimhen, have now scored eight penalties in a single Serie A campaign for the first time since they returned to the top-flight (from 2007/08).

It is their away record that has kept them in the race for the Scudetto, having now won 11 and lost just one of their 16 games on the road (D4).

However, Spalletti also acknowledged their home form, which has been less impressive, winning nine and losing four of their 15 games at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona (D2).

"There is still a long way to go, because we have lost too many points at home and we cannot let our guard down," he added.

"What these guys have understood is that they are playing for the happiness of a city."

Barcelona can begin to plot their route to the Europa League final after learning which teams stand in the way of them reaching the Seville showpiece.

Xavi's side must tackle Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals, before the winner of that tie goes on to tackle West Ham or Lyon in the semi-finals.

This competition represents the last realistic chance for Barcelona to finish the season with silverware, given they are out of the Copa del Rey and trail Real Madrid by 15 points in LaLiga.

Head coach Xavi was appointed in November, succeeding Ronald Koeman, and his side edged past Galatasaray at the last-16 stage as goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Pedri earned a 2-1 second-leg win in Istanbul following a goalless first leg.

Eintracht booked their last-eight place by getting the better of another Spanish side, Real Betis, on Thursday. It took an own goal in the 120th minute from Guido Rodriguez to secure a 1-1 draw on the night and a 3-2 aggregate success for Eintracht, who won the UEFA Cup in 1980 but cannot match Barcelona's European heritage.

Barcelona have won the European Cup or Champions League five times, but they have never lifted the trophy in the UEFA Cup or Europa League.

The clash of West Ham and Lyon promises to be a gripping tie between English and French rivals, while RB Leipzig of the Bundesliga will take on Serie A's Atalanta.

Scottish giants Rangers, who have knocked out Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade in the previous two rounds, will face Portuguese side Braga.

The quarter-final ties will be played over two legs, on April 7 and 14, with the semi-finals on April 28 and May 5. The Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stages the final on May 18.

Europa League quarter-final draw

RB Leipzig v Atalanta

Eintracht Frankfurt v Barcelona

West Ham v Lyon

Braga v Rangers

Semi-final draw

RB Leipzig/Atalanta v Braga/Rangers

West Ham/Lyon v Eintracht Frankfurt/Barcelona

Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini has hailed Ukraine midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi's contributions to the club in recent weeks, amid the ongoing crisis unfolding back in the latter's home country.

The Ukraine international has been a key performer for the Serie A side so far this term, but has found himself thrust into the spotlight for different reasons following Russia's invasion of his home country.

Malinovskyi netted in last week's Europa League last-16 clash with Bayer Leverkusen, in which La Dea prevailed 3-2, and is expected to figure in Thursday's reverse encounter in Germany.

Speaking ahead of the trip, Gasperini offered praise for how the midfielder has responded, including a poignant gesture where he kissed a black armband in the first leg in Bergamo after scoring.

"To tell the truth, Ruslan has had a really important season, and this one has been a bit more troubled," the head coach told his pre-match news conference.

"Now he has moments in which he is in the best situation, he becomes decisive. In addition, we realise the emotional moment he is going through.

"When he manages to clean up his game, with the shot that he has, it will become important. He is a player that we have adapted to that role, he often becomes decisive.

"We hope that in the end, he is as good as possible, because we need him."

Elsewhere, Gasperini revealed that Duvan Zapata is nearing a comeback from injury, with the coach adding that he hopes to have the Colombia star back on hand as early as next month.

"He is recovering well, we hope his return is close," he added. "We will see in April, we hope it is plausible. He will have to get to match sharpness, but he is training well individually and in the gym."

Atalanta face Leverkusen on Thursday, before they wrap up their March commitments with a trip to Bologna in Serie A before the international break brings a halt to club football.

Barcelona will face Galatasaray in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Xavi's side were 4-2 winners on aggregate over Napoli in the round of 32 after dropping into the competition from the Champions League.

They will now meet the Turkish Super Lig giants, with the first leg at Camp Nou to be played on March 10.

Sevilla, winners of a record six trophies, will face David Moyes' West Ham, while rivals Real Betis will play Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rangers, who shocked Borussia Dortmund in the previous round, take on Red Star and RB Leipzig will play Spartak Moscow. Spartak's home leg must be played at a neutral venue due to the military invasion of Ukraine ordered by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The first legs will be played on March 10, with the exception of Porto versus Lyon and Betis' game with Frankfurt, which will be held a day earlier. The second legs are a week later.

Europa League last 16:

Rangers v Red Star
Braga v Monaco
Porto v Lyon
Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen
Sevilla v West Ham
Barcelona v Galatasaray
RB Leipzig v Spartak Moscow
Real Betis v Eintracht Frankfurt

Mauricio Pochettino's future at Paris Saint-Germain is unclear amid rumblings that he wants out.

Manchester United have been linked with the ex-Tottenham manager, who took over at PSG in January last year.

The Red Devils dismissed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November, with Ralf Rangnick taking over on an interim basis.


TOP STORY – LOS BLANCOS KEEN ON POCHETTINO

Real Madrid are set to rival Manchester United to land Pochettino this off-season, claims the Daily Mail.

The Red Devils are understood to be circling for the Argentine, who is reportedly unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain.

But the report claims Madrid have doubts over current boss Carlo Ancelotti's future and believe that Pochettino is obtainable in the off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City's Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva is dreaming of a switch to join Real Madrid, claims Calciomercato.

- Calciomercato also reports that Inter are monitoring Gabriel Jesus' status at City, with a view to bolstering their attack.

- Nicolo Schira reports that Atalanta are keen to move for Torino's Italy international striker Andrea Belotti in the off-season when he is a free agent.

- TuttoMercatoWeb claims Arsenal, Newcastle United, Borussia Dortmund and Inter are all in the race to sign Lille's Canadian forward Jonathan David.

- GiveMeSport claims Liverpool are "seriously interested" in West Ham United's Jarrod Bowen.

- Roma are keen on signing Barcelona's USA international defender Sergino Dest according to Fichajes.

Despite their failure to pull away from Atalanta in the hunt for a Champions League qualification place, Massimiliano Allegri said Juventus' 1-1 draw at the Gewiss Stadium was an "important point".

Atalanta had looked to be on their way to a third consecutive top-flight win over the Bianconeri after Ruslan Malinovskiy's stunning strike 14 minutes from time – the first goal Juve had conceded in 383 minutes in Serie A

Danilo ensured a share of the spoils, though, heading home two minutes into stoppage time to stretch Juve's unbeaten run to 11 games since they lost the reverse fixture in November. 

The result meant Juve remained in fourth, two points ahead of their hosts, although La Dea do have a game in hand.

"It would've been disappointing to lose a game after playing so well," Allegri told DAZN.

"We made mistakes in our finishing and the final ball. There were three minutes of terror just before half-time on the counter after we lost the ball cheaply and [Matthijs] De Ligt threw himself in the way twice.

"The second half was better. Atalanta were on the counter and Malinovskiy did well to win that free kick. It was an extraordinary goal and Danilo scored a great equaliser.

"[Weston] McKennie opened up a lot of spaces for [Paulo] Dybala and [Alvaro] Morata. The lads had some good triangles, the first chance was created by McKennie and Dybala, but there was a period where we got too crammed together and didn't spread the play.

"Atalanta are very aggressive, so we had to move the ball quickly to get it behind them. It was a very entertaining game, we were losing 1-0 and risked defeat, but it is an important point.

"We wanted to win, but knew Atalanta were strong and so we're happy to keep the unbeaten run going."

Juve are nine points adrift of leaders Milan and Allegri insists his side are not in the title race.

"It was official before this," he added. "There are too many points to claw back from three teams. We just try to improve our performances and we need to make a step forward when we have that final ball to turn a chance into a goal. That's where we need to do better.

"I said in September that Inter would win. I still feel that they are the strongest squad, no disrespect to Milan and Napoli.

"Right now, Inter are stronger than Juve. We dropped too many points at the start of the season. If we had just four points more, we could've had some fun, but that's not where we are."

Juve are next in action on Friday when they host Torino in the Derby della Mole. 

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