Monday March 26 2012
Marino: Atalanta deserve Europe

Pierpaolo Marino believes that his Atalanta team’s form this season is deserving of European qualification, even as it sits out of reach.

Beginning the season on -6 points as a penalty for their involvement in the previous seasons’ match-fixing investigation, the Bergamo side find themselves in the top half of the table after the weekend’s 2-0 win over Bologna.

It is the first time in 2011-12 that the Nerazzurri are higher than 11th and if it wasn’t for the points deduction, they would be sitting in seventh place, five points away from the Europa League qualification places.

“To qualify for Europe would be a fantastic achievement, it would deserved for the team, the Coach and the fans,” reflected sporting director Marino on Radio Anch’io Sport.

“For us, anyway, it is a wonderful season. We regret the penalty because we would have one point more than Catania, who are indicated by all as the revelation of the season.”

Marino also talked up Ezequiel Schelotto’s contribution.

“He’s 22, has youthful enthusiasm and an athletic exuberance that sees him able to ride challenges and run as if it were always the beginning of the match. He reminds me of the 1978 world champions Mario Kempes of Argentina.

“Should Schelotto go to the European Championships? Why not? He has physical strength and his qualities are those rewarded at international level.”