Gian Piero Gasperini shrugs off Scudetto talk after Atalanta’s ninth consecutive victory, even though they are up against leaders Juventus next. 'We have different ways of winning.'
The 2-0 result against Sampdoria was eventually earned through Rafael Toloi’s header and a Luis Muriel scorcher, which put them two points off second-place Lazio.
Remarkably, if they beat Juventus on Saturday, then Atalanta will be within six points of the Serie A leaders. Can they really go for the Scudetto?
“We can’t let that thought into our heads, because Juve have the Scudetto in their hands,” Gasperini told Sky Sport Italia.
“Even yesterday, despite their 4-2 defeat with Milan, they still showed they are the strongest team. We are trying to challenge only ourselves, to secure a Champions League place, try to beat our points record and then eventually we’ll see if we can finish ahead of Lazio or Inter.
“We knew Samp would be difficult this evening, as they are in good shape physically, defend very well and are dangerous on the counter-attack. We did so well, because this is a risky type of match, but we played with intensity and proved we have many different ways of winning games. That is valuable.”
Atalanta have also kept two consecutive clean sheets, so they are not just the all-attack wild team who leak goals and score even more.
“It’s down to the experience we have accumulated over time. This is practically the same squad as last season, we just added Muriel, Ruslan Malinovskyi and a few youngsters. We played in Europe and that gave us the ability to interpret games in different ways.
“When we are forced to go with long balls to break the opposition press, we can do that too, as we did this evening.”
Atalanta are in the Champions League quarter-finals and the draw will be held on Friday.
“I see the Juventus game as a test ahead of the Champions League, that’s how I want to approach it.”