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Mon 4 Feb 2008 07:51 AM

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Roma and Juventus losing hope of catching Inter

Title chasers Roma and Juventus have both lost hope in their quest to overhaul Inter Milan in the Serie A race.

Title chasers Roma and Juventus both lost hope in their quest to overhaul Inter Milan in the Serie A race as they dropped points against supposedly weaker opposition on Sunday.

Roma, who had won their previous four games to cut Inter's lead to five points before the start of play, suffered a dreadful 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Siena to allow Inter, who beat Empoli 1-0, to stretch the gap at the top to eight points.

Juventus lost further ground as well as they were held to a third draw in a row, 1-1 at home to rock-bottom Cagliari, to see their gap open up to 12 points.

Juve are now more concerned by the teams creeping up behind them rather than catching those ahead.

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti refused to throw in the towel but lameneted the loss of important points.

"We messed everything up, me most of all, but the championship race isn't over yet," he said.

"For some inexplicable reason the team was too relaxed. We deserved what we got because Siena came to the pitch with more conviction than us, even if after the break we looked more alive and showed character and a good mentality."

Roma's record this season has been impressive, though, picking up 45 points from 21 matches and losing just twice in that period - their previous defeat being a 4-2 reverse at home to Inter."

The problem is that against every other team we are capable of dropping points, but not Inter. For one reason or another they always manage to find a way to win," added Spalletti.

"During the course of the season, that's what makes the difference, the Nerazzurri are good enough to capitalise on every opportunity they create in a match."

Still, Spalletti remains defiant and determined, although he suggested he needs a helping hand from other teams.

"Inter are a long way ahead at eight points but we can still pull it back and we can have a say in the title race."

"The problem is if they keep winning every match it will be hard to catch them."

Juve coach Caludio Ranieri gave a sober assessment of his team's title hopes, admitting they were not in the same league as the two sides above them.

"Inter and Roma are the best teams. The red and yellows (Roma) have only lost one match on a bad day," said Ranieri. "We're doing what we can."

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