Atalanta President Antonio Percassi confessed their 3-0 victory over Everton “will be remembered for a very long time.”
It was their first game back in European competition after 26 years and they dominated the Premier League big spenders.
“I only had about three hours of sleep after that game. After a night like that, it was impossible. How could I rest?” Percassi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
As the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia doesn’t meet UEFA requirements, Atalanta are playing their Europa League home fixtures at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio-Emilia.
“That night will be remembered for a very long time. It was the celebration of an entire city and it felt like being in Bergamo rather than Reggio-Emilia. There were 15,000 fans and they were exceptional.
“Coming back into Europe after 26 years and playing a match like that really gave you goosebumps. The first half was one of the best in my Presidency, considering the intensity of the performances and the chances created. It felt like the second half of last season’s 2-1 win over Roma.
“Everton are a very strong side, and Wayne Rooney nearly scored a fine goal, but Atalanta were so well set-out that we made them look bad. We were so motivated.
“Andrea Petagna had his best game in an Atalanta jersey, creating two goals, and his assist for Bryan Cristante was extraordinary. He isn’t scoring at the moment, but sooner or later, the goals will come for him too.
“Andrea Masiello gave his heart and soul. We did well to wait for him, as a player and a man.
“Papu Gomez wanted to play in Europe, he waited so long to get that chance and he celebrated it in the best possible way with a great goal.”
It’s was already a remarkable achievement for Atalanta to get fourth place in Serie A, but many expected them to struggle after selling star names Franck Kessie, Andrea Conti and Roberto Gagliardini.
“I can’t be surprised by (Coach Gian Piero) Gasperini anymore. He has an incredible ability to adapt his team to the opponent and he didn’t put a foot wrong against Everton.
“We’re top of the Europa League group, but we won’t take ourselves too seriously. Thursday’s result against Everton was valuable experience and frankly great fun! Our group is very difficult, as Apollon Limassol held Lyon to a draw.
“We’re taking each day as it comes and enjoying the party.”
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