Gian Piero Gasperini believes the game changed with a David De Gea double save, but Atalanta ‘showed we can have our say’ in the Champions League with their 3-2 loss at Manchester United.

La Dea had been leading 2-0 at half-time, despite their injury crisis, with Mario Pasalic and Merih Demiral goals, but losing Demiral too left them with only one first-choice defender.

Manchester United poured forward and turned it around through Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and a Cristiano Ronaldo header.

Champions League | Man Utd 3-2 Atalanta: CR7 breaks Dea hearts

“I don’t know if we couldn’t have done more. Of course, we believed, but in an environment like this it just takes a spark to get them fired up again,” Gasperini told Sky Sport Italia.

The coach saw the David De Gea double save on Duvan Zapata and Ruslan Malinovskyi as the key moment of the match.

“We had the sensation we were holding out, we went very close to going 3-1 up and their goalkeeper made a wonderful double save, then the 2-2 happened.

“Inevitably, we might’ve held out longer with a few more players available, but we conceded three goals on fairly messy situations.”

It’s still a very balanced group, with Manchester United on six points, Atalanta and Villarreal on four and Young Boys three.

“We keep learning! These are top level fixtures, you must learn to hold out during their moments of enthusiasm.

“We hoped to be in there at the end, because Manchester United throw a lot of forwards on and are dangerous, but they also leave spaces at the back. Manchester United comebacks and late wins are typical at Old Trafford, I’ve lost count of how many times they’ve done it here, so it’s a characteristic of theirs.

“We played with character, there were moments when we couldn’t get out, but we did try to attack every time we had the chance. We weren’t clinical enough in our finishing.

“The second leg is going to be tough, as they are so dangerous when spaces open up, but we showed tonight that we can have our say in this group and at this level.”

Atalanta are decimated by injuries, as in the second half they had Jose Luis Palomino, midfielder Marten de Roon and teenager Matteo Lovato in the back three. Who will Gasperini field this weekend in Serie A?

“We played with De Roon in defence tonight. He struggled a little at the start to get the measure of the role, then improved. We’ll see how Demiral is doing. The trouble is we don’t have time to get anyone recovered, we’re doing well in Serie A and need to focus on that before thinking about the Champions League in 15 days.”

7 thought on “Gasperini rues Manchester United save as Atalanta capitulate”
  1. Wish Atalanta didn’t have to sell some of their best players every season. Imagine if they still had Romero?! Anyway Congrats to United for big come back victory after eating two goals against Atalanta’s B TEAM!!

  2. Atlanta is the best Serie A team. They play with pride, they attack and play entertaining football. Their loss although was unfortunate and sad for an italian league fan, but they must hold their heads high for the quality of play they did at Old Trafford.

  3. The gap in player quality between Serie A and The Elite Premier league and Spanish teams is Massive. I think The money aspect needs to be considered….Juventus is the only Italian Club in the top 15 for revenue….Milan and Atalanta play modern styles of football but the player quality and squad depth is lacking a this level.

    It is sad to see how bad Italian Club football has fallen so far from just 15 yrs ago. The league ruined itself…now our clubs are being humiliated each season in the UCL..soon UEFA will remove a slot from us… is sad to watch

  4. Somebody remind the doom and gloom merchant above that Italy WON Euro 2020…
    Money has ruined this sport particularly those clubs that have wealthy oil shiekhs behind them… I for one wouldn’t want to be associated with a club that just buys up the best players and ‘buys’ the titles.
    Atalanta have done well since entering the CL a few years ago but would never expect them to win it.

  5. I agree with Salva, Italian players are among the most technically gifted in the world. Atlanta could have gone three one up. Ronaldo is a great goal scorer but he did nothing else of note. The English teams have unlimited funds that is true.

  6. The FIGC need to develop the grass routes and keep this momentum going. We do play good football. We have excellent players young and veterans. What is important in my opinion is to send players to lower divisions so they have time play, slowly moving them up a league and then for Goodness Sake play them and stop purchasing mediocre foreign players. Atalanta played very well and Gasperini is right that they should have gone 3 – 1 up but even before in the first half they could have gone 3 – 0. They were just naive towards the last 15 minutes of the game. I agree with Azzurri 06, Ronaldo just scored a great goal and that’s it. I am glad he no longer plays for Juventus. He is a spoilt brat and for me Lionello Messi is always above him.

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