Inter search for consistency against in-form Fiorentina

Serie A - Inter Milan v Juventus
Soccer Football - Serie A - Inter Milan v Juventus - San Siro, Milan, Italy - March 19, 2023 Inter Milan's Nicolo Barella is shown a yellow card by referee Daniele Chiffi REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

March 30 (Reuters) - Inter Milan will look to get their campaign back on track when they host Fiorentina on Saturday knowing they could suffer a third Serie A defeat in a row for the first time in six years.

Their recent defeats against lowly Spezia and Juventus before the international break left Inter in third place on 50 points, two points behind Lazio in second and only three above fifth-placed AS Roma.

Simone Inzaghi's side have suffered nine defeats already this season and with the title set to head to Naples, Champions League quarter-finalists Inter need to find consistency with the battle for European spots hotting up.

In the previous 15 campaigns in which Inter have suffered at least nine defeats after 27 games, they never qualified for Europe at the end of the season.

This is the first time Inter have suffered this many defeats after 27 games since 2011-12, when they ended in sixth place.

They are unlikely to be given an easy ride against Fiorentina, who are unbeaten in their last five league outings, winning four, and looking for their first win at Inter's ground since 2015.

Fiorentina have two players with at least 10 goals in all competitions in Arthur Cabral (12) and Luka Jovic (11) for the first time since 2017-18, when Giovanni Simeone (14) and Jordan Veretout (10) achieved the feat.

They are quick out of the blocks, too. Only Hellas Verona (41%) have scored a higher percentage of their goals in Serie A this season in the opening 30 minutes than Fiorentina (38%, 12 out of 32).

Runaway leaders Napoli will host fourth-placed AC Milan in a compelling encounter on Sunday, a dress rehearsal for their Champions League quarter-final in April.

Napoli's 19-point advantage over second-placed Lazio means they could seal their first Serie A title in 33 years as soon as late April.

Luciano Spalletti's side will hope that the Champions League will not distract them and they can take advantage of Milan's stuttering campaign.

Across the last nine league matches, only Lecce have suffered more defeats (six) than Milan (five) in Serie A and only Cremonese have conceded more goals (17) than Stefano Pioli's side (16).

Reporting by Anita Kobylinska in Gdansk Editing by Toby Davis

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