Gian Piero Gasperini believes the missed Gabriel Jesus penalty was “the wake-up call” Atalanta needed. “In the second half, we were better than Manchester City.”
La Dea earned their historic first ever Champions League point after three defeats, but it could’ve been more after Claudio Bravo was sent off for a last man foul on Josip Ilicic.
“At the end, we had the conditions to win the game, with them down to 10 men and an outfield player in goal,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia of the 1-1 draw.
“Unfortunately, there was very little football in stoppages and that showed our lack of experience. They took so long over the substitution and then tried to keep it at the corner flag.
“Sometimes it happens to us, we need a wake up call and in this case it was the missed penalty, as from there we really did change gear.
“We still have a chance in the Champions League, but I would be very happy with a place in the Europa League too, as long as we continue some European experiences and can grow.
“Our performance with Shakhtar wasn’t bad at all and we could’ve won that. We could’ve won tonight too, whereas in Manchester we played in fits and starts. If we can play with consistency, then we can win games at this level.
“We struggled in the first half, as City scored early and every time they came forward, they caused problems. The trouble is that sometimes you think you’re at your best, but you’re not. If you are just a metre behind, these opponents can keep the ball constantly and pin you back.
“Manchester City are excellent at going forward, but they struggle at the back. So we had to take some risks, we raised the level of what we thought was the maximum, started to move it quicker, get the ball back, win tackles and in that second half we created more scoring opportunities and played better than Manchester City. We’re not dead yet!”
Gasperini was asked if Josip Ilicic should’ve tried to dribble around Claudio Bravo rather than go down and take the red card?
“Well, of course! There was nobody else in front of him, he was clear on goal! The goalkeeper came flying out and he perhaps got a little frightened, as Bravo’s leg was very high. It would’ve been better to go on goal, but he was trying to defend himself, I think, and got scared.
“I got much angrier with him on the penalty! They took the spot-kick away on VAR because it was outside the box, then they take the free kick and he handles in the area! Other than that, Ilicic had an extraordinary game.”
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