(GSM) - Jose Mourinho's Internazionale reached the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia on Thursday night, knocking out Juventus: 2-1. Afterwards, the Portuguese manager backed under fire Juve coach Ciro Ferrara who is expected to be axed on Friday after a dismal run.
"We are men, we have families," said Mourinho to support his colleague. "It's not nice all this talk of every other coach.
"I don't like the atmosphere around him.
"Ferrara deserves respect. If the club decides to make a change, we know that is part of our job, but at least while we are still on the bench and working we deserve respect.
"Right now nobody is giving Ferrara respect. Nobody. But I respect him."
Juventus president Jean-Claude Blanc didn't exclude a dismissal of Ferrara. "We are very disappointed, as we have failed at another of our objectives for the season,” said Blanc after the match against Internazionale.
"Tomorrow (Friday) we will make a decision and when we have made it, we will let you know."
Ferrara remained calm as usual after another setback. "I have not been told of anything. I will be conducting Juventus training tomorrow, as per usual," Ferrara stated.
Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon rued the Bianconeri's 'unlucky period'. "We wanted to win this evening, and did not deserve to lose," the Italy international said.
"But Inter also did not deserve to lose.
"Unfortunately, the team has been unlucky in this period, but we are trying to rectify this."
The 32-year-old goalie picked up a red card in last Saturday's match against Roma (1-2 loss) and will miss the game against Lazio this weekend.
ROME (AFP) - Mario Balotelli scored a last-gasp winner to help Inter Milan add to Juventus's misery on Thursday with a 2-1 comeback win at the San Siro that takes them into the semi-finals of the Italian Cup.
The forward thumped in the rebound of a Thiago Motta shot one minute before the end of regulation time after Lucio's 71st-minute goal had cancelled out Diego's early opener for the visitors.
Inter will face Fiorentina in a two-leg semi-final, the first of which will take place next week.
The match could be Ciro Ferrara's last in charge of Juve as Italian media say the club intend to sack him after a dreadful run of form.
Thursday's defeat leaves his side with little real chance of winning a trophy this season as they are already out of the Champions League and have dropped to sixth in Serie A, 16 points behind leaders Inter, after losing five of their last six league games.
Juventus took the lead in the 10th minute when Inter goalkeeper Francesco Toldo, who looked insecure after getting a rare start with Julio Cesar resting on the bench, let a seemingly inoffensive shot by Diego slip though his arms and the middle of his legs.
The hosts, who are nine points clear at the top of Serie A after Sunday's 2-0 derby win over second-placed AC Milan, had Juve pinned back for a spell after going behind and were unlucky not to have a penalty for handball by Felipe Melo in the 44th.
The Italian champions pressed even harder after the break.
Juve, without flu-hit captain Alessandro Del Piero and a long list of injured players, withstood the pressure for a spell and had chances at the other end. Diego was not far off target with a good right-footed effort and defender Giorgio Chiellini hit the post with a header in the 55th.
But centre back Lucio broke down their resistance by poking in after a Wesley Sneijder free-kick took a big deflection off the wall before Balotelli sealed it for Inter.
The authorities closed the away stand of the San Siro to prevent Juve fans attending a match they considered high-risk of being hit by trouble.
The rivalry between the two sets of fans has always been intense but the situation has become especially tense by Juve's fans repeatedly racially abusing Balotelli, an Italy Under 21 international of Ghanaian descent.
AS Roma and Udinese will meet in the other last-four tie after getting past Catania and AC Milan respectively.
ROME (AFP) - Former Italy Under-21 coach Claudio Gentile has emerged as the favourite to take over at Juventus, with Ciro Ferrara expected to be fired soon after a dismal run of form.
The Turin giants are out of the Champions League and well off the pace in the Serie A title race, having lost five of their last six league games and slipped down to sixth.
"Juve Await Gentile," read the front-page headline of Thursday's La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Juve's management have stopped giving Ferrari votes of confidence after recent losses and local media say he will be dismissed no matter what happens in Thursday's Italian Cup quarter-final at league leaders Inter Milan.
The club have not sacked him before because they were unable to land a suitable replacement, according to the reports, after knock-backs by former bosses Dino Zoff and Giovanni Trapattoni, who is now in charge of Ireland.
Gazzetta said Gentile had talks with the club's management on Wednesday about taking over until the end of the season, with the main aim being qualification for next term's Champions League or at least fourth-place for a slot in the preliminary rounds.
He would effectively be keeping the coach's seat warm for the appointment of a permanent replacement at the end of the season, as speculation mounts that Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is the top target.
Gentile, who was at the heart of the defence of the successful Juve side of the 1970s and 80s, as well as a member of Italy's 1982 World Cup-winning team, has never coached a club before and has not worked in football for three years.
His main rival for Ferrara's job is reportedly former AC Milan, Lazio and Inter coach Alberto Zaccheroni, who has not worked for three years either.