Gian Piero Gasperini acknowledges Milan ‘made Atalanta suffer’ for a point at San Siro and he too struggles to defend the penalty call. ‘They say this is modern football.’

La Dea had won five in a row going into this match, but were already a goal down by the third minute when Rafael Leao nutmegged two players to curl into the far top corner.

“We conceded after what felt like 30 seconds on a situation that we had worked on during the week, because we knew that was one of Milan’s strengths,” Gasperini told DAZN.

Were Atalanta surprised by Stefano Pioli’s midfield set-up, specifically the position taken by Ismael Bennacer?

“It is natural that all teams have different solutions and Milan do occasionally play with a three-man midfield. We did not expect Bennacer to be there, sometimes Loftus-Cheek is on the right. We inverted Ederson’s position with that of De Roon, so that certainly did not affect our performance.”

Marco Carnesecchi made a series of great saves and Teun Koopmeiners converted a penalty to equalise, awarded via VAR after Olivier Giroud mistimed the clearance to catch Emil Holm on the arm and chest.

“Milan put in a very good performance, we struggled tonight, but managed to bring home a point among great difficulty. This was certainly our toughest match of recent months and the credit goes to Milan for that.”

Charles De Ketelaere was substituted at half-time by the returning Ademola Lookman, but Gianluca Scamacca disappointed by wasting a late counter-attack.

“We will not always face Milan, every game has its own story. We suffered tonight, but getting a point in those circumstances will boost our confidence. We hope the next games will be better.”

Atalanta will be back at San Siro on Wednesday night for the rescheduled Serie A Week 21 fixture against leaders Inter.

This result means they have lost fourth place to Bologna, but continue their impressive unbeaten run.

Pioli was furious at the penalty call, especially as Holm put his hands to his face when there was absolutely no contact there, and even Gasperini struggled to defend the decision.

“Orsato went to view it on VAR. We’ve seen a lot of these VAR penalties this season. I have never been in favour of this type of penalty, but they have become frequent. Plus we’ve got credit with Milan when it comes to penalties, so it turned our way this time.

“People say it is modern football, favoured also by your television coverage that tends to enjoy focusing on this sort of thing. It is really not something people of my generation recognise, but there you go.”

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