Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini said the match against Ajax will ‘be a game with a higher level of difficulty’ despite the 3-1 defeat to Sampdoria in Serie A.
The Dutch champions arrive after a thumping 13-0 win over VVV Venlo, as La Dea prepare for their first Champions League match at the Gewiss Stadium after a disappointing defeat in Bergamo against Claudio Ranieri’s men on Saturday.
“Tomorrow it will be a completely different match to the one against Sampdoria, it will be much more open,” Gasperini said at a press conference.
“Ajax attack with many players and we will have to be good in both phases to counter them. It will be a game with a higher level of difficulty.”
The Orobici will play their first Champions League match in Bergamo, after having carried out their European adventure at San Siro so far.
“I never would have thought we would play the second season in the Champions League without fans, but the pandemic is global and takes something away from all of us,” he said.
“The satisfaction of playing in Bergamo still remains, so far we have had to emigrate, now we will play in our own stadium. But the missing public is a great disappointment.”
Gasperini said his Atalanta are ‘different tactically’ than their Dutch opponents, amid reports in Italy comparing the two sides.
“From a tactical point of view, we are two different teams,” Gasperini added. “Ajax are also a laboratory for the tactical aspect.
“For me, they will always remain as a point of reference as a team, they put forward efficient ideas that I really like. They have always been a model for me.”
Marten de Roon is missing for Atalanta, but the coach believes he has the players to cope without the Dutch midfielder.
“The absence of De Roon is important, because of the players value,” he said. “But we have already played several games without him, we are sorry because he’s valuable, but we aren’t struck by his absence.”
The coach confirmed Aleksej Miranchuk has fully recovered and is available.
“He has recovered and already played in Denmark, so it means he’s available.”
Gasperini’s men arrive after a 3-1 defeat to Sampdoria in Serie A.
“In football, there are victories and defeats,” he said. “You have to understand what you did well and what you didn’t do well, and then think about the next match.”
Ajax, on the other hand, arrive as mentioned from a 13-0 win over VVV Venlo in the Eredivisie.
“Ajax are definitely a healthy team, they can afford to experiment with different situations in certain matches,” he said. “I think it’s a bit different in the Champions League.
“We hope to make it more difficult, from this match, the balance of power between the two teams will emerge.”