Gian Piero Gasperini won’t hide Atalanta ambition in Serie A and the Champions League after a 4-1 win over Sassuolo. ‘We’ll evaluate Josip Ilicic for Lazio.’
La Dea picked up where they left off, sweeping Sassuolo aside 4-1 in Bergamo, conceding only on a free kick in stoppages.
“There were some question marks over this game, because it was our first after a long period of inactivity, but we did well and it was by no means easy against a dangerous Sassuolo team,” Gasperini told Sky Sport Italia.
“These have been shocking months in Bergamo, we had no idea after the Valencia game that the pandemic would explode the way it did here. We kept in contact with the players, but allowed them freedom to train autonomously. They showed such love for the city, because none of them left Bergamo and they were always convinced we’d be back, sooner or later.
“We’re proud to have the highest goals average in Europe, even if we concede a few too many, but it’s a good reputation to have. We did this without Josip Ilicic, he needs to be evaluated, but we hope to have him back against Lazio.”
Despite leading 4-0 at the time, Gasp still managed to get himself sent off for dissent on the touchline and it now remains to be seen whether he’ll be suspended for Wednesday’s showdown with second-placed Lazio.
“I said nothing that bad towards the referee and I thought the dismissal was harsh. The VAR decisions were also harsh, especially disallowing the second goal for handball.”
Atalanta will also be preparing for the Champions League in August, as it’s now a Final Eight tournament with one-off games, so could they cause a huge upset?
“We’ll think about that later on. We had hoped to take the Bergamo fans all over Europe, but the competition is revolutionised, albeit still prestigious. We hope there will be some fans allowed in by then.
“It’s difficult to say whether it’ll be easier for us over two legs or in one night. Against the big clubs, we can hope for luck or for them to be having a bad night. We are not so arrogant that we think we’re on the level of the best, but on the night, we hope to be better.
“In any case, we have to focus on finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League again, because that is our objective.”
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