AC Milan coach Massmiliano Allegri says victory over Torino on Sunday could prove decisive in the race for the Champions League places.
The Rossoneri hold a one-point lead over fourth-placed Fiorentina with four games left to play, and Allegri argues his outfit will be firmly in the driving seat should they retain their advantage over Vincenzo Montella's side after this weekend's matches.
“It’s decisive," he told a press conference ahead of the game.
"Last Sunday it was important to win but tomorrow it’s decisive.
"There aren’t many games left and between tonight and tomorrow afternoon, things will become clearer.
"We simply have to win to stay ahead of Fiorentina and they’re playing tonight [against Roma]. If we’re still ahead of them tomorrow, that’ll be something important.
“The players are doing well and they deserve the third-place finish. After a difficult spell, we’re back on track thanks to the club’s work and that of the president as well.
"Tomorrow’s game is the one that will dictate who finishes in third.”
Milan were forced to issue a statement on Saturday to deny reports in the Italian media that Allegri had agreed to join Roma this summer, and the 45-year-old is determined not to be distracted by persistent rumours over his future as he targets a top-three finish which, in his view, is as good as a trophy for his side.
“What happened today is similar to what happened last Saturday," he said of the speculation.
"Only last Saturday they pulled out a name for the new Milan coach and this week, they pulled a name for the Roma position.
"I have a contract here and what has been written is only an inference.
“My intention is to stay here and do the best I possibly can with the team. This is a job wanted by every coach in the world. Why would I want to leave?
"We’re focused on third place which is not an easy objective and a few months ago, it would have been unthinkable.
"Third place would be a big result and I would compare it to the title win. Finishing fourth would a be a bitter pill to swallow and I don’t even what to think about it.
"After a 25-year winning history, the club knows better than me that this is not the time to talk about the coach. It doesn’t make sense and I’m disappointed to read that I’ve already accepted the Roma job.
"I’m an honest person and if anything like that happens, the first people to hear about it will be [Adriano] Galliani and [Silvio] Berlusconi.
"I’ll speak about my future with them at the end of the season. Differences of views and exchanges of opinions doesn’t meant that I don’t enjoy a good relationship with the president as has been shown in the last three years.
“I spoke to him [Berlusconi] on Sunday morning and he was happy with the win over Catania. We speak as it’s normal for an employer and an employee to do.”