Gian Piero Gasperini insists Atalanta “earned our right to fight for Europe” both via the Coppa Italia and Serie A after tonight’s 2-1 win away to Napoli.
They become only the third team to conquer the Stadio San Paolo this season, after Juventus and Arsenal.
“Napoli were excellent in the first half and had the chances to make it 2-0, at which point it would’ve been difficult,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“We stayed in there, threw on the options we had on the bench including Josip Ilicic and after the equaliser, we kept riding the momentum.”
This result put Atalanta level on points with fourth-placed Milan (but behind due to an inferior head-to-head record) and on Thursday they face Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia semi-final.
“We have a game that we really are looking forward to on Thursday, but also knew a victory here would give us a huge boost. We’re right up there for Europe and close by to Milan.
“We haven’t said that we’re in the running for the Champions League, but we’re up there, so we’ll wait and see. There is also the Coppa Italia and reaching the Final would be a great satisfaction for the city of Bergamo.
“The thing we have to focus on is that we are there and we won’t let go now. For me personally, it’d be the fourth season out of five that my team qualified for Europe between Torino and Genoa. It is more than possible to achieve these targets at a mid-level club.
“With the Coppa Italia, we beat Juventus and earned our right to fight in the semi-final. Tonight we won in Naples and earned our right to fight until the very end for the top four. So we’re not a fluke.”
Gasperini was again sent off from the touchline for dissent.
“I protested because I thought it was a free kick on the edge of the box, but I didn’t leave the technical area. It’s not easy for Coaches to just stand there with hands by our sides during these moments.”