Wednesday September 13 2017
Gasp: 'Everton typically English'

Gian Piero Gasperini hopes Atalanta can cause another upset with their Europa League debut against “typical English side” Everton.

Their first European match in almost 30 years kicks off at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio-Emilia, which usually hosts Sassuolo, on Thursday at 18.00 UK time (17.00 GMT).

“It’s a combination of emotions and we can’t wait,” smiled the Coach in his Press conference.

“Having so many fans attending, even if we’re playing in Reggio-Emilia rather than Bergamo, can be an anomaly, but it does boost our confidence and if anything act as extra motivation.

“We face every game to the best of our abilities, whether it’s in Serie A or the Europa League. In this phase of the season, every objective is important.”

Atalanta are in a very difficult group alongside Everton, Olympique Lyonnais and Apollon Limassol.

“Europe is a novelty for us and we’d like to get off to a strong start. The fact this is one of the toughest groups of the tournament isn’t an alibi, but it is an undeniable difficulty.

“We are facing sides from the Premier League and Ligue 1, while the Cypriots are not outsiders at this level either. It’s a big ask, but we want to represent Serie A well.

“Everton are a typically English side, very physical. When you face sides that finish sixth in the Premier League, it’s like Milan, Inter, Lazio or Fiorentina. We know it’s tough, but we want to play to the best of our abilities.”

Atalanta sold off many of their biggest names this summer, having surprisingly reached fourth place last season.

“We know that there is a massive economic difference between Serie A and the Premier League, let alone for a club like ours that is not accustomed to being in Europe.

“We had to do without some elements, but others arrived. We have 11 new players, this means it’ll take a little time, but we are trying not to think about last season’s squad. Hopefully this one will give us satisfaction too.”