Roberto D’Aversa said Parma must aim to “become like Atalanta” and praised Dejan Kulusevski for seeing out the loan after his Juventus transfer.
It kicks off on Monday at 14.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.
Gervinho and Yann Karamoh are out of action, Riccardo Gagliolo suspended, while Andreas Cornelius and Roberto Inglese are probably only fit for the bench.
“Atalanta are the most prolific team in Serie A and put five past Milan last time out. They did well so far this season, but we know they can do even better, because they’ve been spread a little thin by injuries and the Champions League,” said the Parma coach in his press conference.
“Tomorrow they will have a complete squad available, feel very confident and are always strong physically. We could not have picked a worse way to start 2020 than visiting Atalanta.”
It’s going to be a strange afternoon for Dejan Kulusevski, who was in the Atalanta youth academy, sold to Juventus this week for €35m plus up to €9m in bonuses and left on loan at Parma for the remainder of the season.
“It was a little distracting, although it’s inevitable there would be a lot of talk about this. What I will tell the fans is that 99 per cent of the time, a player who made this transfer would not be so passionate about coming back to Parma for six months.
“Kulusevski wanted to continue with us out of a sense of gratitude towards the club and his teammates, which shows his intelligence and maturity. He’ll also want to prove to Atalanta that he was up to the standard of being in their squad this season rather than be sent out on loan. He's a great professional and that is to be admired.”
Parma are having a very positive campaign and currently sit seventh in Serie A, making them unexpected candidates for Europe.
“Atalanta set the example for medium-to-small clubs in Italy, because they’ve been working so well on and off the field for many years. For Parma, who are back after bankruptcy, our objective is to be like Atalanta.”
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/