Saturday March 27 2021
Gasperini on Papu, Pirlo and Atalanta

Gian Piero Gasperini will ‘always be grateful’ to Papu Gomez, discusses Atalanta’s playing style and Andrea Pirlo’s debut difficulties at Juventus.

The coach had a far-reaching conversation with Radio Deejay this afternoon, covering various different topics.

La Dea reached the Champions League Round of 16, but were eliminated by Real Madrid, losing 1-0 at home down to 10 men and 3-1 away.

“The objective in the second leg was to keep it at 0-0 until at least half-time and then run a few more risks, but it was always going to be difficult. We were doing it, though,” said Gasp.

“Real Madrid hadn’t been at their best in recent games, but saying Atalanta were favourites beforehand was a bit much. When the decisive moment of the season came, Madrid changed.”

Gasperini’s decision to bench Pierluigi Gollini in favour of Marco Sportiello for the second leg raised eyebrows, especially as the goalkeeper then went on to gift a goal.

“We had been conceding a few too many goals compared to the opportunities that were created against us, so we needed a change to get back on track.

“Atalanta have a precise identity and play at our tempo, but we’re not the only ones in Italy with that style. Perhaps we do better in Europe because we like play to run and it annoys us to have the game stopped so often for free kicks. We prefer to keep it going without interruptions.”

In January, Papu Gomez made the move to Sevilla following a bitter row with the coach.

“I didn’t send anyone away. I will always be grateful for everything we did together over the years.”

Gasperini was asked about the Juventus decision to give debutant Pirlo the main job as his first management role.

“I thought the club must have extraordinary faith in this former player and person. Maybe they think he can become a great coach.

“Knowing the club and the sport helps, but coaching is a completely different job, you need to learn and gain experience first. You can learn in many ways, including as coach of Juventus.

“I went through so many steps, right from the youth teams, and I think I improved in every experience. I’ve always been quite experimental with my tactical choices. I remember a Genoa-Juventus with Nicolas Burdisso and Sebastien De Maio in defence, and we put in a fantastic performance. From there, we started to raise the bar.”