Sunday, March 29, 2020
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Without all the pomp, ceremony and soundbites that surrounded him, the Premier League has been a far duller place since Jose Mourinho’s departure. Gone are the feuds and the rifts that coursed between England’s top clubs when he was here. To its detriment the league is now a more harmonious place.   


Our loss has been Serie A’s gain as the master of ceremonies has continued his firebrand manner in the warmer Mediterranean climes. One particular target has been his predecessor at Stamford Bridge, the now Juventus manager, Claudio Ranieri.    


Since his arrival Mourinho has gone out of his way to point the finger of fun at the Italian. In various diatribes he has called Ranieri an old man, belittled his grasp of the English language and questioned his managerial credentials.   


Yesterday Mourinho added injury to insult by guiding his side to a 1-0 victory over Juventus at the San Siro. It was a typically Mourinho performance in terms of his side’s tactical discipline and the specifically defined player roles, but he surprised everyone by playing a cavalier 4-2-4 and dropping Patrick Viera to the bench.   


Inter dominated possession and nullified the threat form the Old Lady - allowing Ranieri’s side only one genuine effort on target. Although the performance was one to savour, the goal wasn’t as former Portsmouth man, Sulley Muntari, scuffed from inside the 6-yard-box in the 71st minute.    


After the game Mouinho took a typically bullish view of the game. “ We played better than the opposition,” said the Portuguese before praising the recalled Adriano who he described as “an animal.”    


The paradoxically unobtrusive Ranieri was more magnanimous in defeat: “Inter deserved it because they pressed and stopped us playing our game.”   


Elsewhere, Roma continued their revival which has seen them climb away from the foot of the table. Luciano Spaletti’s side continued their unbeaten run since beating Chelsea, by winning 3-0 at Lecce - Francesco Totti notching a trademark chip from outside the area.   


Milan were held to a 2-2 draw in Torino. After falling behind to a Roberto Stellone header in the 25th minute, they equalized through Alexandre Pato before a brilliant Ronaldinho free-kick gave them the lead before half-time. After squandering chances to win the game they were eventually pegged back by a Alessandro Rosina penalty in the 77th minute.    


The form of early pace setters Napoli has also continued to falter as they drew 2-2 at home to Cagliari - a result which has seen them pick up only one victory in their last four league games.    


Results: Bologna 1-1 Palermo, Chievo 0-2 Siena, Fiorentina 4-2 Udinese, Inter 1-0 Juventus, Lazio 1-1 Genoa, Lecce 0-3 Roma, Napoli 2-2 Cagliari, Reggina 3-1 Atalanta, Sampdoria 3-0 Catania, Torino 2-2 Milan.

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