Atalanta head coach Gian Piero Gasperini has spoken about the injury crisis that he is battling and also what he expects of AC Milan ahead of tomorrow’s meeting.
La Dea’s season so far has been a rollercoaster in terms of results. For nine matchdays of the 14, they were in the top six of Serie A. However, recently they have tumbled to eighth, failing to win in their last four games with three defeats in that run.
A home game against a rival like Milan after a few days off gives them a chance to bounce back, and there will be plenty of players with a bit of extra motivations such as Charles De Ketelaere – on loan from the Rossoneri – and former midfielder Mario Pasalic.
Gasperini spoke to the reporters who gathered for his pre-match press conference on the eve of Atalanta’s game against Milan, with his comments relayed by TMW.
You are battling a lot of injuries…
“The injuries are players like Touré, Palomino and Toloi, who are chronic. The other types of injuries are normal, Kolasinac has a sprained ankle, but he has played a series of incredible games.
“Djimsiti could come back, he’ll do a test: we’re already starting with some chronic injuries, but I don’t think there have been many injuries, in fact we were lucky that we didn’t have any for a long time.”
Could you pull from the Primavera to bolster the defence?
“The thing that put us in difficulty was having four out of five players out in the same department, unfortunately it was a coincidence, it’s clear that we have to adapt. We’ll see from the Under 23s, it’s a team that’s quite old, there aren’t many elements who may be called on Thursday.”
Could you use a back four?
“It could be an option, it’s difficult to make a mistake (laughs). The first thing we have to understand is if Djimsiti plays, then we’ll understand.”
What do you expect from Milan?
“Milan also had significant injuries, now they are recovering a few players. I don’t know how many players they will recover, but there are these periods throughout the season in which you can make up for them more or less well, at this moment we need to have even more attention and will.
“We are playing an important match at home, we must cling to the pitch factor to bring out maximum energy, as Milan did. This is football, we must provide the turning points.”
For De Ketelaere it won’t be just a normal match…
“He played a decent game on Monday, he is a boy who is giving good answers. His growth is constant, being an old club he will have a very high motivation.”
What do you think of Pioli?
“The results speak for themselves, he has always left a particular mark. He won an extraordinary championship, it was certainly the highest point there.”
What does the goal data tell you?
“We need to look at it more broadly, it’s a team that has always scored goals. It seems like a tired team to me: what’s penalising us in the last few games is that we’re conceding clear but avoidable penalties, like against Torino which ended the match.
“There was a week of training, I expect a very ready team tomorrow. Tomorrow we would like to interrupt this series of negative results, it matters to me that the team plays as it always has and think match after match, instead of setting ourselves objectives we must think about every single match.
“We need to rediscover our concentration in the league, we need to try to get the most out of it. At this moment I don’t feel like making any proclamations or predictions.”