Gian Piero Gasperini admits Atalanta did not expect to suffer so much in a 3-2 thriller with Bologna, but “the game with Milan will be decisive for Europe.”
Andrea Conti and Remo Freuler had given the hosts a 2-0 lead within 15 minutes, but Mattia Destro and Federico Di Francesco completed the comeback.
Mattia Caldara turned in from a corner to secure the victory and temporarily put them into fourth place.
“These are three very, very important points. It was a difficult match, so winning it gives us confidence going forward and it is a good advantage to have in the table,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“At this stage of the season, the game with Milan will very probably be decisive for Europe. There are another three rounds before that, but it will be decisive for something – we’ll see which position later.
“We have to analyse what didn’t work today, especially after we started so strong. There was no need to suffer this much, even if Bologna deserve credit for fighting back.
“We weren’t filtering the balls out in midfield and that put extra pressure on the defence. We didn’t quite understand each other today, then Papu Gomez had a knock and was limited. Losing Franck Kessie to injury wasn’t helpful either.
“The midfield was struggling, so I introduced Alberto Grassi to cut out some of the space that allowed Bologna to attack us head-on.”
Next Friday evening, Atalanta will welcome leaders Juventus to the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia.
“Let’s get over this game first, as it was a bit of a panic! We have five days to prepare against Juve and make it a better performance than we saw today, because to get a result against Juventus you really need a great game.”
Does Gasperini still stand by his pledge to dance on a podium if Atalanta qualify for Europe?
“If we go into Europe, I’ll go dancing on the podium with the President, Vice-President, I’m taking everyone with me!”