Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini has admitted he would have preferred two legs against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. ‘Historically we’ve done better in the second match’.
But Gasperini hopes to make Bergamo smile and thinks La Dea’s ‘values’ are appreciated ahead of their biggest match in history, a quarter-final in the Champions League.
“We have to represent in the best way the region and the capacity to react, to start again. It’s possible, as I’ve said many times, to give people a smile,” Gasperini said at a press conference.
“We have shown that a team without particular European heritage can do well, with values like will, motivation, enthusiasm.
“I think people like this a lot. We have a big responsibility to not disappoint – not with the result but with these values.”
But he did admit that he would have preferred to play the French champions twice.
“With our history, I’d have preferred [two legs]. We are facing a team we’ve never faced before and have no direct parameters in terms of meeting their players.
“Historically we’ve always done better in the second match – against Dinamo, against Shakhtar and against [Manchester] City.”
Les Parisiens are a team full of stars and a regular in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Neymar is the biggest of them all but Gasperini, who thinks the Brazilian is ‘one of the best in the world’ is still sure Atalanta should focus on themselves.
“Neymar is one of the best players in the world, so this is a problem for all teams who face him. I think the best way to defend against him is to play well ourselves, with everyone focused.
“We’ll try to do it as a team with our organisation. We’ve come across a lot of good players. He’s one of them.”
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