Atalanta won’t change their attacking philosophy as they attempt to overcome a one-goal deficit in the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 at Real Madrid on Tuesday, coach Gian Piero Gasperini said.
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Soccer – Serie A – Inter Milan – Atalanta – San Siro, Milan, Italy – March 8, 2021 Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini REUTERS / Daniele Mascolo
March 16, 2021 4:00 a.m.
REUTERS: Atalanta won’t change their attacking philosophy as they attempt to break a one-goal deficit in the second leg of the Champions League last 16 at Real Madrid on Tuesday, coach Gian Piero Gasperini said.
The Italians conceded a late goal to lose 1-0 in the Bergamo first leg, but they played most of that game with 10 men after Remo Freuler was sent off in the 17th minute.
Gasperini’s side have not been able to fully demonstrate the style of attack they are known for in the first leg, but the manager intends to throw numbers forward during the must-win game in Spain despite the risks involved.
“Our style has been like this since we started and it has cost us some heavy defeats, including a few blows in the Champions League,” he said.
“But we’ve never thought about changing the way we play and we’ve tried to grow from our ideas. We could park the bus and wait for our chance, but that’s not our philosophy.
“We want to measure ourselves against one of the best teams in the world. It is fundamental for us to understand what level we are at,” he added.
Atalanta reached the quarter-finals of their first Champions League season last season, in which they lost to later runner-up PSG.
Gasperini’s side then beat Liverpool at Anfield when they finished second in their group and reached the knockout round that year, behind the English champions but ahead of Ajax and Midtjylland FC.
“It’s been a difficult Champions League season so far, but we have 11 points to get through a tougher group than last year,” said Gasperini.
“We’re facing Real now, which is certainly more complicated, but tomorrow’s game may be a turning point for our season.”
Atalanta’s 23-year-old midfielder Matteo Pessina saw Champions League football for the first time this season and left no doubt about the significance of the draw for him and his club.
“It’s the most important game of the season and in Atalanta history,” he said.
“Games at this level are every player’s dream. Ten years ago my father brought me to the final between Inter and Bayern. I was here in Madrid and dreamed of playing in a final or in the Champions League.”
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Pritha Sarkar)