Gasperini: ‘Atalanta had the game in hand, yet…’

Gian Piero Gasperini concedes Atalanta ‘had the game in hand and yet we risked losing it’ in a 3-3 draw with Young Boys, putting their Champions League progress in doubt.

La Dea have now fumbled nine points from leading situations in five Champions League games this season, many of them in stoppages.

Champions League | Young Boys 3-3 Atalanta: Dea give it away

They risked it being 10 this evening, as after Luis Muriel equalised with his first touch, Juan Musso made a decisive save with the last kick of the game.

“We were leading twice, we conceded on a corner and a throw-in, had threatened the third goal many times. We lost concentration and intensity in the second half, giving Young Boys reason to feel confident and their home fans helped them believe too.

“It was a game we seemed to have in hand and yet we risked losing it,” Gasperini told Sky Sport Italia.

“This is a different playing surface that might fatigue muscles in a different way, but I think even Lionel Messi generally won’t show his technique and quality on an artificial pitch. We had done very well for long periods, but I am old-fashioned, I love playing football on grass.”

Manchester United have now won the group, whereas Atalanta need to beat Villarreal in the final match in Bergamo to be sure of reaching the Round of 16.

“I would’ve preferred having the option of two results, but here we are, we need the win and that is our objective. Villarreal are a very good team, we need a great performance to win it.

“Having said that, we’d have been very glad starting the group to reach the final game in this situation.”

Atalanta went through a period of struggling to find the net, but now they have gone back to the old issue of leaking goals.

“We have resumed scoring goals, but we need to rediscover our concentration in defence, because we give away opportunities and goals far too often now. We can certainly do more.”

Davide Zappacosta went off just before half-time with a sprained ankle and it did not look reassuring.

“His ankle turned really badly, we’ll see tomorrow. He’s in a lot of pain. It’s difficult to predict how long he’ll be out for, but this weekend frankly is unlikely.”