Saturday July 11 2020
Gasp: 'These are penalties in Italy'

Gian Piero Gasperini was ‘very happy with the performance and very disappointed not to have won’ a 2-2 draw with Juventus, as the Atalanta coach was irritated by the ‘interpretation of handball’ in Italy.

A pair of Cristiano Ronaldo penalties, both awarded for handling offences, allowed Juve to claw back a 2-2 draw at the last minute.

“These are the rules, well, they are above all the rules in Italy, anyway,” Gasperini told DAZN.

“What are we meant to do, cut our arms off? You can at most put your arms in front of your body. It’s not the first penalty like this we’ve seen, there have been a lot all over the season, with many teams. It’s madness and the interpretation of the rule is not the same here as elsewhere. Other countries don’t give penalties like that.

“These are the rules here, fine.”

Atalanta out-played Juventus for long periods, above all in the first half, and had taken the lead twice through Duvan Zapata and Ruslan Malinovskyi.

“It was a great performance against the Serie A leaders, I told the lads to treat this like a Champions League game, as we’ll face teams of this level in August.

“We achieved everything we set out to, I am clearly very happy with the performance and very disappointed not to have won. We were leading until the final minute and had done everything to deserve the victory.

“We said that qualifying for the Champions League for the second year running was our ultimate aim, so after that third or second is about prestige, but the objective remains the same.

“I thought we started quite strong this season too, then of course the Champions League took a little energy off us. The real points we dropped were in the head-to-head games with Lazio, Juventus and Inter, but then we never did target the Scudetto!

“We’ve raised the bar and are hitting our targets anyway. We can’t think of the Scudetto. It’s already infuriating many people to see us in the Champions League, as it brings with it so much financial gain and prestige.

“We’re seeing the team grow every year. We didn’t have this kind of character to play like this at the Juventus Stadium in the past, but if we keep getting results and performances, we do grow.

“Juventus have the Scudetto, they’re not going to let it go. I don’t know how much longer we can keep winning games, but it’s in any case a way of testing ourselves for the Champions League and we fully intend to make a good impression in Europe.”

Gasperini was also asked about the controversy that erupted earlier today when their team manager was caught on camera insulting a Napoli fan by calling him ‘terrone’ – an insulting term for those from the South of Italy.

An investigation has been opened into the situation, which could see Atalanta and the team manager fined.

“We already invited the fan to our training ground, you’ll see when you find out who he was…” explained Gasperini.

“It has nothing to do with me, I have friends all over the country, and you’ll see it is nothing to do with Atalanta either.”

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