Gian Piero Gasperini and Atalanta have even more injury problems going into tomorrow’s trip to Sampdoria. “We’re a bit low on numbers.”
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La Dea picked up the first ever Champions League point on Wednesday, holding Manchester City to a 1-1 draw, but the strain of this added tournament is taking its toll.
“It was important for the players to have put in a strong Champions League performance. Although the result didn’t go our way, I think the game with Shakhtar Donetsk was just as good,” said Gasp in his press conference.
“Evidently, considering they were down to 10 men, we were left with a few regrets that it wasn’t three points with Manchester City, but it was a big step forward for the lads and their confidence playing at that level.
“Now we have to settle back into Serie A and recover from the defeat to Cagliari, which rather held up our progress. We mustn’t kid ourselves with Sampdoria’s current position in the table, as they are still tough to face in a difficult stadium.
“Unfortunately, Ruslan Malinovskyi picked up an injury in training on Thursday. Remo Freuler went off in the last few minutes against City and needs a fitness test today. Robin Gosens has sciatica, Josip Ilicic is suspended and Duvan Zapata is still not available, as we can’t risk relapses.
“We hope to have Duvan Zapata back against Juventus after the break for international duty. At the moment, he can’t kick or sprint, but we’ve got two weeks. Right now, we’re a bit low on numbers.”
Sampdoria have struggled to score goals this season, under both Eusebio Di Francesco and Claudio Ranieri.
“They are an underestimated team, but if they are that low down the table, it means they must have some problems.”
Samp include Emiliano Rigoni, who spent six months on loan with Atalanta last season and failed to make an impact.
“Rigoni is a fine player, but coaches are like chefs: sometimes you ask for salt and they give you sugar. That doesn’t mean the sugar is bad, but it might not fit with the recipe.”
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