Francesco Guidolin insists Saturday’s clash with Inter is effectively a “Champions League play-off” and Udinese are still among the favourites.
Lazio currently hold third place, but Udinese, Roma, Napoli and Inter are all within six points of that precious spot going into this weekend.
“Inter are a side made of great champions who will do everything they can to snatch third place,” said Udinese Coach Guidolin.
“A little while ago Inter were on top of the world and we mustn’t forget that. However, we are highly motivated because 32 rounds have gone by and we are still in the top tier of the table.
“Tomorrow’s game will be a very important match for third place, practically a Champions League play-off, but for the other European spots the race is still wide open.”
Guidolin has been impressed by new Nerazzurri Coach Andrea Stramaccioni, who has earned seven points from three games since his promotion from the youth team.
“He is a very intelligent man, is well-prepared and has character. Stramaccioni is in a lovely fairytale and I hope he is only at the start. He’s a novelty in Serie A and I think it is important for Italian football to have such a young Coach.”
Saturday evening will also see Diego Milito and Antonio Di Natale go head-to-head in the Capocannoniere charts, as both are locked together on 20 goals.
“I trained Milito only for a few days, but already realised he was a champion. He is a great professional and without the problems he had it would’ve been an even better campaign.
“Who will partner Di Natale? I don’t know if Antonio Floro Flores is available, but Gabriel Torje is in good shape and Paulo Barreto has played two games after a long lay-off. I hope to make the right decision.”