Tuesday January 14 2020
Gasp: 'Caldara can play'

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini has admitted that Mattia Caldara "might start" against Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia. "He has come to make up for lost time".

Caldara returned after one and a half seasons at Milan, but his spell with the Rossoneri was haltered by injuries.

He initially struggled with some muscular problems, before a rupture in his achilles tendon keept him out for over three months.

On his return to action, he suffered another setback in May, when he ruptured his cruciate ligament and in the end was limited to a mere 155 minutes on the pitch in Rossonero.

The Dea coach is happy to have Caldara back in Bergamo and claimed he’s “in good condition” ahead of the Coppa Italia match against Fiorentina tomorrow.

“We are very happy with his return,” Gasperini said at a press conference. “When he left Bergamo, I told him than sooner or later he would come back here. Even though I wasn’t expecting it to be this soon.

“He is still a product of Bergamo; he has always been here, and this is his home. He will certainly be very useful to us.”

“Mattia will be in the squad. I saw him in a good condition, and he could play a part or even from the beginning. Let’s see.

“But he has come here to make up for lost time during the past two years. We are doing well in defence, but we are a bit short and the arrival of Caldara helps.”

Gasperini has claimed that Atalanta are trying to go all the way in the Coppa Italia this term but has admitted that both Serie A and Champions League will be prioritised above the Italian cup.

“They are all objectives,” he said. “It’s clear that the League is the tournament that has our attention at the moment, then there will be the Champions League.

“But these are games where we will go through with a win and even the Coppa Italia becomes a target. It’s a competition that becomes very beautiful later on.”

Fiorentina are unbeaten since Beppe Iachini took charge at the Artemio Franchi and Gasperini said they will travel to Florence expecting a “difficult” affair against the Viola.

Atalanta arrive after a good performance against Inter at the Giuseppe Meazza and Gasperini revealed it was “rewarding” to get a point from the game in Milan.

“I expect a balanced game,” he added. “We must interpret the match in a good way, because it’s always difficult to play in Florence.

“We are used to having to play many games, but it’s obvious that the match against Inter was very good for us. It was also rewarding. But now we must look ahead and think about Fiorentina.”

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