Berlusconi questions Mancini deal

AC Milan needs to bounce back from a three-game winless streak and

is hoping newly signed midfielder Amantino Mancini can help despite

club president and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi questioning

the acquisition.

Milan takes on Bologna on Saturday, and Berlusconi isn’t

happy at signing Mancini from city rival and Serie A leader Inter

Milan.

“He’s been inactive for two years and he’s another

playmaker,” Berlusconi said of the Brazilian. “We need someone who

scores goals, a finisher.”

Told about Berlusconi’s comments, Mancini responded: “I know.

I’ve got to get back in form. When you don’t play for a long time

you tend to gain some weight. But this is the ideal place to bounce

back and find my game. Milan plays with the ball on the ground and

with speed.”

However, as Berlusconi points out, Milan already has three

playmakers in Ronaldinho, Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pirlo.

Milan was beat 2-0 by Inter in the derby two weeks ago, was

then eliminated from the Italian Cup by Udinese before being held

to a 1-1 draw by Livorno last weekend.

Mancini, who was a key member of AS Roma’s attack before

transferring to Inter in 2008, played a total of seven games in the

first half of this season with Inter.

“I had a difficult year with Inter, then I threw away another

six months,” Mancini said. “Over the summer, Mourinho told me to

stay because he believed in me, but then I hardly ever played and

sometimes I wasn’t even included in the squad.”

At forward, Marco Borriello is expected back after taking a

knock to the head against Livorno.

Milan is tied with Roma for second, eight points behind

Inter.

The Serie A leader edged Fiorentina 1-0 in the opening leg of

the Italian Cup semifinals Wednesday and now hosts a Cagliari side

with a goalkeeping crisis.

First-choice Cagliari goalkeeper Federico Marchetti is

injured and backup Cristiano Lupatelli is also unavailable, causing

the Sardinian club to purchase Michael Agazzi from Serie B side

Triestina.

Agazzi could make his Serie A debut against Inter.

Roma faced Udinese in the other Italian Cup semifinal

Thursday, then visits Fiorentina in the Sunday night game.

Struggling Juventus plays Livorno in new coach Alberto

Zaccheroni’s second match in charge.

Juve was held to a 1-1 draw by Lazio last weekend in

Zaccheroni’s debut, the Turin club’s fifth consecutive game without

a victory.

“I think from here on forward we’re going to see the team

improving,” Zaccheroni said. “It’s going to be a crescendo.”

Also this weekend, it’s: Palermo vs. Parma; Atalanta vs.

Bari; Genoa vs. Chievo Verona; Lazio vs. Catania; Siena vs.

Sampdoria; and Udinese vs. Napoli.