Tuesday January 2 2018
Gasperini: 'Atalanta retained style'

Gian Piero Gasperini is glad Atalanta kicked Napoli out of the Coppa Italia “without changing our style” and welcomes extra games.

Timothy Castagna and Papu Gomez got the goals at the Stadio San Paolo before a late Dries Mertens header for the 2-1 result.

They’ll face Juventus or Torino in the two-legged Semi-Final in January and February.

“We didn’t change our style, we played our game with our usual characteristics, even if we changed a few members of the starting XI,” the Coach told Rai Sport.

“It’s a fantastic achievement to reach the Coppa Italia Semi-Final here in Naples and now the season becomes meatier.

“Undoubtedly the lads deserve the credit, as they are extraordinary for their professionalism and the development they’ve had over the last few years, both young and less young.

“It’s an important result for us, especially as at the weekend we were really disappointed to have lost to Cagliari in Serie A, as it interrupted a good period of form.”

Gasperini’s Bergamo Boys are also in the Europa League Round of 32, having dominated their group ahead of Lyon and Everton, so are in the running on three fronts.

“Napoli and Atalanta have strong tactical identities, so rotating the squad shouldn’t make much difference. I am not sad to play more games, as if anything it’s an opportunity. We learned this year to deal with the extra playing time in training.

“Last season, our win over Napoli was a fundamental turning point for us, as it gave us confidence we could go forward and take a European place. I hope this will be the same, giving us the chance to play in the Semi-Final and target the Final.

“We deserved the victory tonight, because we had good chances and didn’t really allow Napoli many dangerous runs. They did introduce Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens in the second half, so it wasn’t a weakened side at all. Besides, we caused them a lot of problems in Serie A when we were both full strength too.

“I believe we won against the ‘real’ Napoli. It wasn’t much different to the game we had in August, when we were leading and ended up losing 2-1 in Serie A.”

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