AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has warned his players they will face a battle against Atalanta in Wednesday's must-win game for the Rossoneri.
Allegri's side head into the encounter at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium trailing three points behind Serie A leaders Juventus with three games remaining but knowing the Turin giants hold the head-to-head edge.
A defeat coupled with a Juve victory over relegation-threatened Lecce on Wednesday would see the scudetto travel to Turin.
"We must do our duty,'' Allegri said. "But it is going to be a very difficult game against Atalanta. We will try to win our next three games but it all depends on what Juventus do. We just have to hope that Juve lose points.''
Milan go into Wednesday's clash on the back of a 4-1 triumph at Siena, their third win in their past four games. Allegri has not given up hope of retaining the scudetto but knows the chances of Juve making a mistake in the final games are slim.
"Our possibilities of winning the title are limited,'' Allegri said. "But all we can do is to win. We want to keep the scudetto race open and we have no intention to throw the towel until the end.''
Milan visit Inter Milan on Sunday before ending the campaign at home to Novara on May 13. Mid-table Atalanta make the short journey to Milan in a buoyant mood following their 2-0 triumph over Fiorentina last time out. The result was the Bergamaschi's third win four games.
Had Atalanta not been punished with a six-point deduction at the start of the season, Stefano Colantuono's side would be competition for Champions League football.
"We have had an extraordinary campaign so far,'' Colantuono said. "My players have achieved the record of points in Serie A for our club and we must be proud of what we have done.''
The hosts will be without defender Thiago Silva, who is out with a muscular problem, but will recover captain Massimo Ambrosini from injury.