Gasperini thanks Tuchel for Atalanta praise

by | Oct 16, 2021 17:24

Gian Piero Gasperini thanks Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel for praising Atalanta, but warns his team to focus on Empoli and not Manchester United.

La Dea have stuttered so far this season in Serie A, including the most recent 3-2 defeat to Milan, not helped by numerous injuries including Matteo Pessina, Robin Gosens and Berat Djimsiti.

“Everyone knows the injuries, we begin this tour de force of fixtures in a difficult trip to Empoli. We haven’t had much time to prepare for this game,” said Gasperini in his press conference.

“Aurelio Andreazzoli keeps his teams well-organised and Empoli set a good example with their pro-active approach to football.”

The upcoming Champions League clash with Manchester United is no doubt also on their minds, although their opponents aren’t in good condition either, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side lost 4-2 at Leicester City today.

“It’s a very prestigious match and an important one, especially considering the state of the group standings, but we have to think about Empoli and take it one game at a time.

“We’re rather forced into some decisions and need to check Duvan Zapata’s fitness today. Luis Muriel needs to regain match fitness after the long lay-off, the kind you don’t get from training alone.

“Joakim Maehle scores lots of goals on international duty, maybe we should put a Denmark shirt on him when he plays for Atalanta!”

Another player who hasn’t made the same impact at club level this season is Josip Ilicic, who has seemed overweight and off form.

“Ilicic certainly did well on international duty, but his most recent performances for Atalanta have not been very good. We hope he can get into shape, because when he is more dynamic and quick, he becomes an indispensable player. We need the best Ilicic, and for that he needs to be in good shape.”

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel praised Atalanta and Gasperini for their style of football, so how did the coach feel about that?

“It’s perhaps one of the most prestigious compliments I’ve received. Tuchel won the Champions League, eliminating some big favourites, so we saw that as a reward.

“At the same time, this is Atalanta. If people expect us to win the Scudetto, then that’s going to create a lot of problems. It’s certainly not in my thoughts.”

Gian Piero Gasperini

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