Saturday October 17 2020
Marino: 'Ilicic happy to be back for Atalanta'

Atalanta director Umberto Marino assures Josip Ilicic is ‘very happy and realised just how important he is’ for the club, as the Slovenian returns against Napoli.

It kicks off at 14.00 UK time (13.00 GMT), click here for the line-ups and LIVEBLOG.

Ilicic has not played since the 2-2 draw with Juventus on July 11, as he was on compassionate leave to deal with personal issues, but makes his comeback from the starting XI.

“Josip is happy, he has rediscovered his mental and physical balance, he realised just how important he is for Atalanta, both on and off the field,” director Marino told Sky Sport Italia.

The Bergamo club won its first three games and created an impressive strength in depth for coach Gian Piero Gasperini.

“Atalanta’s philosophy this season is to expand the squad, to create 23-24 players who are all on the same level and can be interchanged depending on the situation.”

La Dea have also spent more than in the past after securing their second consecutive Champions League qualification.

“Atalanta right now have to consolidate our position and our project, so clearly that’s very difficult when up against top clubs not just in Italy, but also at the European level,” continued Marino.

“I also follow the Percassi family’s approach of keeping our feet on the ground, looking at the past and present of Atalanta, without ruling out anything for the future.

“The most important thing is to have the books balanced and a virtuous financial situation. That is the main focus of the Percassi family.”

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