Gian Piero Gasperini feels Atalanta had some ‘fatigue’ in their front line, but the penalty ‘changed the game’ for a 2-0 Verona victory.
Just days after an historic 2-0 win away to Liverpool in the Champions League, La Dea were brought back down to earth by Verona with a 2-0 result in Bergamo.
Miguel Veloso converted a penalty and Mattia Zaccagni completed a counter-attack in the second half, after Atalanta dominated the first period, unable to make any of their chances count.
“I think more than the Champions League, we pay for international duty. Because some players leave us, go around the world and return different players,” Gasperini told DAZN.
“Verona did very little, but enough to make the most of their chances. We created a lot of opportunities, some fatigue set in and also COVID reduced our options, so upfront we weren’t as sharp as in the rest of the team.”
Both Ruslan Malinovskyi and Aleksei Miranchuk are out with COVID-19, adding to the limitations.
“Verona are tough to play against because they attack and press you all over the pitch. Having said that, we were in control and pinning them back up until the penalty, which changed the game.
“The only problem for Duvan Zapata tonight was he’s not in the best physical shape after international duty. These things can happen, it’s a pity, but you could tell he was struggling this evening.
“Papu and Ilicic also did well in fits and starts, but were a little tired. We did create so many chances in the first half, the team played with intensity up to the penalty, but unfortunately in attack we weren’t sharp enough to finish them.
“I am not satisfied with the result, as we threw away a great opportunity, but I am largely satisfied with the performance. The team did what it was supposed to, up to a point.”
After many years, Ivan Juric finally managed to beat his mentor, Gasperini.
“We only met briefly before kick-off, so we’ll chat after. I don’t know how many games we’ve had against each other and he’s not won before, but this time he won perhaps the most improbable one. I am happy for him.”