Defiant AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has brushed off talk that Antonio Conte is being lined up to replace him.
Milan head into Saturday’s Serie A trip to Frosinone sitting in third place in the table but seven points adrift of Juventus in second and eight behind leaders Inter Milan, who have a game in hand on both.
The top two meet at the San Siro on Sunday evening, by which point Pioli’s men will hope to have closed the gap – although whether that would placate his critics is doubtful, with the club’s receding title hopes having been dealt a further blow by last weekend’s 2-2 home draw with Bologna.
Asked about the speculation linking former Italy boss Conte with his job, the 58-year-old told a press conference: “It doesn’t bother me at all. Maybe it bores me a little.
“What matters is that I and my players think we can do our best between now and the end of the season.
“The future doesn’t worry or bother me. We just want to demonstrate, the team and I, all our value.”
Milan will run out at the Stadio Benito Stirpe defending a seven-game unbeaten league run, with Atalanta the last side to beat them in the competition on December 9.
Wins over Monza, Sassuolo, Empoli, Roma and Udinese, coupled with draws against Salernitana and Bologna, since have helped them keep pace with Inter and Juve, if only just, but Pioli insists they simply have to concentrate on themselves as they attempt to claw back lost ground.
He said: “The season is still long and can give us further satisfaction. We have to put all our attention on the next match. Inter v Juve shouldn’t interest us.”
Frosinone will take to the field having halted a five-game losing run with a home victory over Cagliari followed by a draw at Verona, although the quality of the opposition this time around is significantly higher.
Eusebio Di Francesco’s men lost 3-1 at Milan on December 2 and have won only one of the eight league games they have played since.
Di Francesco will make late decisions on a lengthy list of injury doubts including Sergio Kalaj, Riccardo Marchizza, Anthony Oyono, Jaime Baez, Pol Lirola, Kevin Bonifazi, Mateus Lusuardi, Nadir Zortea, Marvin Cuni and Arijon Ibrahimovic.