Sampdoria coach Sinisa Mihajlovic stressed that the club’s UEFA Europa League hopes are in their own hands with three Serie A matches remaining.
Mihajlovic and Co. occupy sixth spot in the league standings heading into Saturday’s clash with third-placed Lazio, one point behind Fiorentina and a point clear of Genoa, while Inter are within striking distance.
Usually the top five positions guarantee European football but with champions Juventus and Lazio set to contest the Coppa Italia final, the Europa League spot is passed down one position, meaning Sampdoria are in the box seat to compete in UEFA’s second-tier tournament next season.
“Playing after Inter can be a negative thing if they win,” Mihajlovic told reporters.
“However, we can’t make calculations, it’s in our hands. Irrespective of other things, we have to think about ourselves, knowing that we can win if we play the way we can do.
“We’re at the crucial stage of the season, there are only three games to go. Since Inter and Genoa won’t give up, we can’t afford to start making calculations.”
Mihajlovic, whose team ended a six-game winless streak against Udinese last week, added: “We’re against a team with great motivation, and from this point of view Lazio are the worst team to face.
“We have to give everything if we want to win, but I’m confident because we’re at home, where we’ve only lost once.
“We’ve only lost against Juventus, who are Champions League finalists. We know they [Lazio] are strong, and we’ll have to do more than we did against Udinese.
“They have wingers who are very good one-on-one, and midfielders who know where the goal is, but I’m confident, because this Samp can compete with anyone.”
Sampdoria close out the season with fixtures against Empoli and Parma.