Two managers that enjoyed brief honeymoon periods before facing the harsh realities of Serie A meet on Saturday as Milan host Chievo.
Opposing bosses Clarence Seedorf and Eugenio Corini were both appointed midway through the current campaign and after enjoying positive starts initially, both have found results harder to come by more recently.
Corini was reinstalled as Chievo’s head coach four months after leaving when Giuseppe Sannino was sacked following the turgid 0-0 draw between these two sides back in November.
The Stade Marc’Antonio Bentegodi outfit saw an immediate upturn in results as they won their next three Serie A fixtures without conceding a goal.
However, they swiftly came back to earth with a bump, as their next nine outings yielded just three draws and six losses, although they have won three of their six matches since.
Seedorf, meanwhile, took over at Milan from Massimiliano Allegri in January and picked up four wins in his first six league matches, before a run of one point from the next four dampened spirits around San Siro.
To underline the 18-time Italian champions’ inconsistent nature, they won 2-0 at UEFA Europa League-chasing Fiorentina on Wednesday, thanks to goals from Philippe Mexes and Mario Balotelli.
Lying 12th, eight points adrift of fifth – which yields UEFA Europa League qualification – with eight games remaining, Milan are in danger of recording their lowest league finish since ending the 1997-98 campaign in 10th.
But midfielder Sulley Muntari has called on his team-mates to rally themselves to ensure that does not happen.
“We’re a family and even the players who have wives and kids at home like me and don’t get to see them as often as they’d like, but for us players, we’re another family,” he told the club’s official website.
“We’re a united family and we have to keep on pushing on as we’re doing. All of us have to make sure we’re ready when the coach calls on us.
“We have to fight for this jersey, it’s a part of who we are and this is our life.”
Chievo, meanwhile, are desperate for the points as they look to stave off the threat of relegation, although they will need to buck the trend of their woeful recent record against Milan to get them.
They have gone 14 matches in all competitions against their illustrious opponents without winning, a run that dates back to a 2-1 league success in December 2005.
Corini’s men lie 16th in the Serie A table, three points clear of the bottom three but like Milan, should come into the game in buoyant mood after an emphatic victory on Wednesday.
Two goals from Alberto Paloschi and one from Luca Rigoni earned them a 3-0 home success over fellow strugglers Bologna, allowing them to leapfrog their opponents in the standings.
With third-from-bottom Livorno hosting Inter on Monday, Corini and his charges will see Saturday’s match against a faltering Milan as a prime opportunity to heap more pressure on their relegation rivals.