Gian Piero Gasperini admits Atalanta ‘leave the Champions League with a lot of regrets’ after their 3-2 home defeat to Villarreal and a whole group of wasted opportunities.
La Dea needed a victory here to stay in the Champions League, but were 3-0 down and the comeback was too late, eventually losing 3-2.
They also hit the woodwork three times, but the regrets are earlier in the group, as Atalanta took the lead in five of their six games and only won one of them.
The Italians managed to fumble an extraordinary nine points from leading situations in this tournament.
“We usually manage to give our best in games like this, but instead we had just a horrible start and it becomes difficult when you go behind at this level,” Gasperini told Amazon Prime Italia.
“We got the sensation as time wore on that we could get back into it, but it was too late. When Muriel hit the post, if that had gone in for 3-3, it would’ve given us a chance to throw everything at them. It is also true that in the 90 minutes we were unable to play the way we can.
“There are even more regrets because we went out in a game that we were more than capable of winning. The players have put in so many good performances this season, an off day can happen. When we managed to improve the quality of the football, that’s when we created lots of scoring opportunities.
“With Villarreal taking such an early lead, they could sit back even deeper and we struggled to break them down. The whole first half was not good, we misplaced passes and lacked our usual quality.
“We leave the Champions League with a lot of regrets.”
Arnaut Danjuma’s second goal of the evening for Villarreal helped secure their place in the Champions League last 16 ⚽
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 9, 2021