Sassuolo Coach Roberto De Zerbi “put more faith in some players than they really deserved” and intends to give Atalanta a real game tomorrow.
It kicks off on Sunday at 19.30 UK time (18.30 GMT), click here for a match preview.
As Atalanta currently sit in third place, they will enter the Champions League with a victory, although Inter and Milan are ready to take advantage of any slip-up.
“We have 90 minutes left of this Serie A season to honour the tournament, the way we always have done,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“We intend to hang on tight to that top 10 finish, although we know Atalanta are coming here with very strong motivation, as they are on the cusp of achieving something historic and will do everything possible to get there.”
Curiously, the final two Atalanta home games of the season are played at the Mapei Stadium, so Sassuolo are the away side in their own arena.
“Facing Gian Piero Gasperini’s teams is tricky because they can attack you from all angles, so we must give 100 per cent.”
This week, Sassuolo President Giorgio Squinzi said he was “not entirely convinced” by Khouma Babacar or even De Zerbi, complaining the Coach was too disorganised in defence.
“I am sorry not to have satisfied our number one fan. I think the team gave its all, even if we could’ve earned a few more points. I will try to improve next season and satisfy the patron.”
Considering the criticism, De Zerbi was asked whether his future is still on the Sassuolo bench.
“I would be happy to remain at Sassuolo, but it takes two parties to make that decision. We will meet and each side will state their requirements, because I do feel we need something more to improve. It’s no coincidence that the fight for relegation went to the end, because the overall level of the division has increased and it’ll be even tougher next year.
“I am by nature ambitious, as is the club, but I also try to be realistic. Considering the performances, we could’ve done even better. Perhaps I wasn’t clinical enough and put more faith in some players than they really deserved. Some ended the season with flip-flops…
“I have not received any calls from other clubs. As for our players, it is only right that some have the ambition to move on to bigger stages if they get the chance. We should see that not as a problem, but as proof of how well we’ve helped them develop.
“When it comes to replacing them, we need to bring in players who are functional to the team.”