Gian Piero Gasperini was delighted for defeating Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of the Europa League Round of 16. On the other hand, he had a tirade against the refereeing mistakes that negatively impacted Atalanta on multiple occasions.
“Qualifying remains challenging, as we have seen what they are capable of. We are more optimistic after this performance, even though we have regrets about the narrow result. We had a fantastic display against a tough and fast opponent. It is a source of pride for us.”
Gasperini talked to Sky after the game: “We have had some subpar outings, as normal, but we did not change our mentality. It has not always been our fault if we did not reap as much as we sow. Several episodes went against us in five or six games, for instance, allowed or disallowed goals and questionable penalties. We also had a grueling schedule, and we went through a COVID-19 outbreak and a shortage of attackers. The respect towards us has not been the same as for other teams, and some things were glaring. We have to react to the best of our capabilities, but what was done to Atalanta was devastating.”
Luis Muriel returned to the stat-sheet Thursday: “Unfortunately, he had to deal with some injuries, and it took him a while to be in the right shape. However, we have never had any doubt about his value, and he is extraordinary.”
Gasperini closed with some remarks about the war in Ukraine: “It has shaken me up more than the pandemic. What Ruslan Malinovskyi is going through and doing is moving. We are close to Aleksey Miranchuk too, and their friendship is remarkable. He is almost embarrassed about this situation. People matter more than the flags they represent.”