Atalanta general director Pierpaolo Marino says the club was in a constant state of emergency when he first started work there.
La Dea are currently on a six match winning streak in Serie A and with the season approaching its climax they remain in the hunt for European football.
“Great things begin when you least expect them to,” Marino said to GianLucaDiMarzio.com.
“Everything explodes in a short space of time. Of course we know we had a competitive squad and a great Coach.
“Our hard work is coming to fruition. This Atalanta reminds me of Udinese in the 1998/99 season, with Zaccheroni coaching them.
“They won eight of their last nine matches and finished in third place.
“But the first two years I worked here the team was always in an emergency, facing injuries and disciplinary issues.
“This year, thanks to the work of all the staff we have also managed to reduce the average age of the team. With good results.”