Antonio Conte warned Inter Milan need to bounce back from recent setbacks against Sampdoria tonight to keep pace with leading duo Juventus and Lazio, before their clash with the Serie A champions in Turin next week.
Inter dropped from first to third, three points behind champions Juventus, after losing 2-1 to second-placed Lazio last weekend, following an Italian Cup defeat to Napoli.
“It was a painful result,” said Conte of the loss in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
“We’ve now got back up with the desire to bounce back and move forward.”
Claudio Ranieri’s Sampdoria are 17th, just one point above the relegation zone, and lost the reverse fixture in Genoa 3-1 in September.
Juventus can open up a six-point gap on Conte’s side with a win at rock bottom SPAL, before hosting Inter in their Allianz Stadium on March 1.
Lazio are just one point behind Juventus as they chase their first Scudetto since 2000, and can push their unbeaten run to 20 games at third-from-bottom Genoa.
Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus have lost their last two away matches and need a win against SPAL before their Champions League last 16, first leg trip to French club Lyon.
But despite their low ranking SPAL have shocked both Lazio and Atalanta this season.
Sarri could rest goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny before their European game allowing veteran Gianluigi Buffon to line out for a record 648 Serie A games.