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Tue 5 Feb 2008 07:37 AM

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Scudetto is Inter's to lose: Spalletti

AS Roma coach turns up heat on Inter Milan claiming the Milanese club can only throw away the Scudetto.

AS Roma coach Luciano Spalletti has been trying to turn up the title heat on rivals Inter Milan by claiming the Milanese club can only throw away the Scudetto now.

Second-placed Roma slipped to eight points behind the leaders on Sunday after they were surprisingly hammered 3-0 at Siena while 10-man Inter held on for a controversial 1-0 home win over lowly Empoli.

It was the third time in four matches that Inter had been reduced to 10 men in the first half - with France captain Patrick Vieira dismissed after 39 minutes against Empoli for picking up two yellow cards in the space of several seconds - and yet they avoided defeat on all three occasions.

"Right now only the nerazzurri (black and blues) team can lose the title," Spalletti said on Monday.

"We're not giving up and we're remaining positive. We will try to reduce the gap, even in the face of Inter's imposing form."

"We should not get down even if another team, despite facing difficulties, is managing to play every three days at the same level."

"Whatever happens we we can't afford to make any more mistakes and we need to win everything."

The problem for Roma is that when they play badly, they drop points, whereas Inter almost never drop points - the leaders and reigning champions have won 16 and drawn five of their 21 league matches this season.

"(Francesco) Totti hit the nail on the head when he said it was not the real Roma (against Siena) but Inter win even when they are not at their best," added Spalletti.

"(Alessandro) Mancini was also right when he said that in the last two or three matches the team has not been at its best."

But Spalletti still has faith and will not let a defeat and a widening gap to the leaders strip him of his confidence.

"At Siena ... we played badly and we'll accept the defeat with the idea of learning from it and growing."

"You ask me if I still believe we can win the Scudetto, well I'll tell you that I will always believe in everything that can be improved upon."

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