Serie A talking points

·3 min read

ROME (Reuters) - Talking points from the weekend's Serie A matches

CONTE IN HOT WATER OVER REFEREE RAGE

Antonio Conte wasn't happy at the end of Inter Milan's 0-0 draw at Udinese on Saturday.

His side struggled to break down a team they were expected to beat, but in doing so they also squandered the chance to go top of the standings and be crowned winter champions after AC Milan were thrashed 3-0 by Atalanta.

Conte's frustration told when he was sent off for dissent near the end, and Sky Sport reported that he was later heard shouting at referee Fabio Maresca: "It's always you, even at the VAR, always you."

Maresca responded by telling the coach: "You need to accept when you don't manage to win."

Conte said that he had simply protested the amount of stoppage time awarded, adding that: "the referee has to take his decisions and we have to accept them, even if we don’t agree."

The Inter coach will soon find out the cost of his outburst, with Gazzetta dello Sport suggesting he is likely to be suspended for more than one game for the altercation.

UNDER-FIRE FONSECA DEMANDS RESPECT

AS Roma coach Paulo Fonseca went into Saturday's game against Spezia under scrutiny following a heavy defeat by Lazio and a shock Coppa Italia exit to Spezia.

Some media reports claimed that the Portuguese was on the verge of losing his job, and he needed a win to calm the waters when his side faced Spezia for the second time in five days.

In the subsequent seven-goal thriller, Roma surrendered a 3-1 lead as Spezia levelled in the 90th minute, only for Lorenzo Pellegrini to win it at the death and ease the pressure on his coach.

"Criticism doesn't bother me," Fonseca insisted.

"Sometimes it's difficult when Roma are treated differently. Not Fonseca, but Roma. We're third in the table and it seems like we're last.

"It's important that Roma must be respected more, not Fonseca. It doesn't interest me if they write names of other coaches, I'm only thinking about the team."

CALAMITOUS CAGLIARI BACK EDF

Cagliari's dreadful run of form continued on Sunday with a 1-0 defeat by relegation rivals Genoa, their seventh consecutive loss in all competitions.

Coach Eusebio Di Francesco's future appeared uncertain after a run of 12 games without a league meant they dropped into the relegation zone.

But the Sardinian side's president Tommaso Giulini revealed at fulltime that rather than sacking the former Roma boss, he had handed him a new deal until 2023.

"We renewed Di Francesco's contract this week to show how much we believe in him," Giulini told Sky.

"We must transmit positive energy. The squad has quality and Di Francesco has the group in his grasp.

"We wanted to announce it after picking up some points, but unfortunately it went badly. Now the renewal will bring more solidity to the coach and the project."

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Christian Radnedge)