Sunday December 16 2018
Gasperini defends Atalanta talents

Several of Atalanta's young players disappointed after they were signed by the big teams, but Coach Gian Piero Gasperini feels it all comes down to “bad luck” and “different objectives.”

La Dea have long been hailed as one of the outstanding teams in Serie A when it comes to developing youth. However, players like Leonardo Spinazzoli at Juventus, Mattia Caldara at Milan and Bryan Cristante at Roma, all turned out to be relatively disappointing.

"That's just not true, so many of them were just unlucky, like [Andrea] Conti, Caldara and Spinazzola," the Coach said, in his Press conference ahead of Monday's game against Lazio. "[Franck] Kessie is doing pretty well.

"Cristante and [Roberto] Gagliardini have held their own too, although it's no easy task to start playing for objectives of a higher class. A lot depends on the teams as well."

Atalanta themselves, on the other hand, have enjoyed the continued services of Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez since 2014.

"Gomez was extraordinary two years ago and excellent last year. This year, too, he's keeping up a consistent level of form. His range is a bit different, he plays farther back and more centrally, where he can help distribute play.

"His accuracy when shooting appears to have been eroded a bit, but there are ups and downs. In fact, now it's Duvan Zapata who is at his absolute best. His duel with [Napoli's Kalidou] Koulibaly was really good."

Atalanta had stuttered badly at the start, but have rediscovered their form of late.

"Mostly it's the way we lost continuity after we got knocked out of Europe," Gasperini admitted. "But then we had a good string of results, and now the standings are very tight, with a lot of teams behind us. We managed to kick off the careers of some new kids, and recovered some of our veterans."

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