Gasperini: “Ilicic has to be in good shape and we can’t play him”

Sat 27 February 2021 | 14:54

The Atalanta manager is furious about the referee ‘ruining’ his side’s battle against Real Madrid and warns Josip Ilicic, but pushes his squad to concentrate on facing Sampdoria.


’s 1-0 loss to

Real Madrid

in the

Champions League

has been the focus, with

Remo Freuler

being shown a red card early doors.

On Wednesday we had to play almost exclusively in defence after going down to 10 men,

” said

Gian Piero Gasperini


We allowed Real Madrid very little in the circumstances and hoped to bring home the 0-0, even if it wasn’t the game we wanted to play. This too is football, it happened against Lazio too, but it’s a pity we conceded that late goal. The thing that upset us the most was that it ruined the game, we never really got to play the Champions League Round of 16 with Real Madrid.

“It’s a difficult result, but we have time to prepare for the second leg and we’ll give it our all.”

When quizzed whether the event has decreased their confidence, Gasp responded:

I think it could be the opposite. Clearly, we used up a lot of energy, but we’ve always been good at spreading our focus throughout the competitions. Tomorrow’s game with Sampdoria is important for Serie A, there’s no point thinking about Real Madrid now."

Since the Atalanta coach insulted the authorities, he will watch the game from the stands.

I might have many faults, but I don’t hold a grudge. Having said that, I tend to have problems with the fourth official more than the coach… The fourth official is a strange role, he pretends not to hear when he wants to, then gets upset over something else entirely!

“We’ve often had trouble against Sampdoria, in fact we lost important points against the teams in the lower half of the table, partly because we met them straight after Champions League games.

“Serie A is pretty tight at the moment, we’re all crammed in there, so we know the importance of tomorrow’s game.”

When Gasperini played

Josip Ilicic

as a substitute in the clash against Real Marid, it surprised many. He then brought him out for having no influence.

Ilicic has to be in good shape and we can’t play him when he’s in these conditions. I always hope a player like him can deliver, but I realise now he has to do well in training and complete those sessions in order to get back into the team.

“I do think there is too much talk about Josip, the team doesn’t depend entirely on him.”

source: SportMob

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