Sunday April 25 2021
Gasperini: 'All over with the Super League'

Gian Piero Gasperini reveals how genuinely distraught he was at the Super League. ‘On Monday, I was convinced everything was over. Why do we bother playing?’

La Dea are comfortably top scorers in Serie A this season with 78 goals in 33 rounds, blowing 10-man Bologna away 5-0 in Bergamo this evening.

“We know there are no easy games in Serie A. Bologna have caused many teams a lot of problems, we saw them play with a three-man defence against Roma and it was one of the options we prepared for,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“We were a little frenetic at the start, and we’ve been making a lot of pretty simple mistakes, as we’re in a rush to make the pass or have a shot. I realised if we managed to calm down a bit, we’d get back to normal.”

Awaiting Milan’s trip to Lazio, Atalanta temporarily go into second place on 68 points, two clear of Juventus in fourth.

“I don’t know how many points we’ll need, but if we go in front, then the others will have to hope we mess up in order to get caught. Our destiny is in our hands, it’s difficult, but we’ve set ourselves this target and we’ll see what happens.”

Ruslan Malinovskyi is on extraordinary form at the moment and again tonight provided goals and assists.

“Mali came here as a midfielder, but over time I asked him to evolve his role to something very similar to Josip Ilicic. He struggled a little at first, but with time he found his position. Now he is consistently connected to the attacking moves, albeit as an atypical forward.

“He had some issues with COVID and then a hernia, but now that he’s back to full fitness, he’s having an extraordinary campaign.”

With Atalanta in second place, it’s worth remembering in the week that the Super League was announced and then abandoned, that the tiny club from Bergamo has one of the lowest salary bills in Serie A.

“This has been the case since the first year. We sold many players, because when the bigger clubs arrived, they would offer seven, eight even 10 times the wages we could give them.

“Over time, Atalanta increased their budget, but the Percassi family cannot ever pay €50m for a player or offer the wages of bigger clubs. We increased the revenue and could therefore spend more, but there will never be debt here.”

“We’re hardly alone, Bayern Munich have no debts and they won everything.”

Gasperini revealed how genuinely upset and depressed he was when the Super League was announced a week ago.

“Fortunately, they changed their minds in England, otherwise there was the genuine risk we’d have been playing here for no reason. It would’ve been irrelevant, just to save 12 clubs.

“This is a sport loved all over the world because anyone can play and win. There are millions of fans who support those 12 clubs, I know that, but if someone pulls the plug on the revenue, nobody is going to save Atalanta. It’ll fold. Nobody will come to rescue us, we’re small fry.

“On Monday, I was convinced everything was over. The season is over, why do we bother playing? To qualify for a Champions League, so our dream of playing with Real Madrid, Liverpool and PSG again is all over, unless they invite us? As if they would…”