Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez explains why he chose to remain with Atalanta for their Europa League campaign, starting with Everton.
It kicks off at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio-Emilia, which usually hosts Sassuolo, on Thursday at 18.00 UK time (17.00 GMT).
“Everton are an historic club, very experienced, and a balanced game awaits us,” said the Argentine in his Press conference.
“We are aware that we can fight it out with anyone and play our style of football. We need to be wary, because they have players of great quality.”
The home legs will be hosted at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio-Emilia, which is usually Sassuolo’s arena, because the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia in Bergamo did not meet UEFA requirements.
“We know how to play on home turf and feel strong with the enthusiasm of the fans. There will be many supporters in Reggio-Emilia too and that gives us strength, as our fans are unique.”
Gomez had been expected to move on this summer with interest from the likes of Lazio, Milan, Roma and Fiorentina, but signed a new contract with Atalanta.
“It was very important for me, because staying in Bergamo is what I wanted. I had a few offers, but my thoughts were always here. I told the fans that if we reached the Europa League, there was a very good chance I’d stay. I am happy to be experiencing this.
“The Percassi family are the number one fans and not just the club owners. They are very important to us, as Antonio and Luca work to constantly improve the club and this allows the players to focus on their football.”