Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini wants to see "more" from Luis Muriel against Verona and Shakhtar Donetsk, as he prepares to face pupil Ivan Juric.
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The Colombian, signed from Sevilla last summer for €15m, has only shown flashes of his ability for La Dea, and has mostly started on the bench.
However, with the continued absence of Duvan Zapata, Gasperini is demanding more consistency from the 29-year-old.
“He did very well for a while,” said Gasperini in his press conference ahead of the clash with Verona. “We need the best Muriel, more consistency. We all have to give more in this important stage of the season.”
Atalanta have their crunch Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine on Wednesday, and Gasperini intends to go into overdrive in the final fixtures of 2019.
“From now to Christmas we have to give the maximum. The trip to Ukraine will be decisive, but I don’t think that holding back in the league will benefit us in the Champions League.
“We went through a little bit of a rough patch, but the formation won’t change for the Champions League.
“Papu Gomez has received a bad hit against Brescia, which has affected his training all week, but he looked better today. Duvan Zapata is in Seville and he is being treated.
“I can only say that for now he is unavailable. I think he could be back in the New Year.”
Verona coach Ivan Juric was a former player of Gasperini’s at Genoa, and the latter is full of praise for the job he’s done at the Gialloblu.
“Juric and I have a strong relationship. He was my player and then a member of my staff. I’m glad that he is doing very well at Verona, one of the surprises of the season. They’re always in great condition and make life difficult for everyone."
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