Gasperini Waxes Lyrical About Pasalic and Muriel After Spezia Win

Gian Piero Gasperini maintains Atalnada had to work their socks off to defeat Spezia despite a 5-2 scoreline suggesting otherwise. La Dea picked up where they left off before the international break when they outscored Cagliari 2-1 on the road.

Atalanta were caught cold by Mbala N’Zola, who was quickest to react to a rebound and give Spezia an early lead. However, the home side bounced back swiftly through Mario Pasalic, arguably the best player on the pitch. Duvan Zapata’s 38th-minute penalty completed the turnaround before Pasalic added another one to the tally on the stroke of half-time.

The Croatia international continued to deliver after the break. Pasalic set up second-half substitute Luis Muriel for Atalanta’s fourth before another late addition, Ruslan Malinovskyi, hammered home the fifth from just outside the box. Spezia pulled one back through Nzola in the stoppage time, but it was not enough to ease the pressure on Thiago Motta.

Gasperini heaped praise on Pasalic, Malinovskyi, and Muriel in the aftermath. 

Pasalic is going through a great period of form, he was decisive today with both assists and goals. Ruslan Malinovskyi and Luis Muriel came off the bench with the right attitude, but this was certainly not an easy game,” he told DAZN, as relayed by TUTTOmercatoWEB.

Everyone knows how important Muriel is to us. We’re in a good period of form, it’s a very tough run of fixtures coming up, but we go into it in good shape.

We lowered the tempo too much in the second half, gifting possession to Spezia, a side who know how to build play out from the back. It was good considering this was our first game back after international duty, but some were a little tired at the end.

Juventus’ 2-0 victory over Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico earlier this afternoon has helped Atalanta move four points clear of Lazio as the top-four race in Serie A starts to shape up. La Dea will now turn their attention towards the Champions League as they head to Switzerland to meet Young Boys in a must-win fixture.