Gasperini Says Fans Instrumental in Decision to Stay

Gian Piero Gasperini stated that he considered stepping down, but the chants by the Atalanta faithful convinced him not to resign. The coach had pointed remarks toward the management over previous transfer market strategies in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“If I am still here, it is because of the strong bond with the city. I felt that very strongly in the Empoli game. The fans repeatedly asked me to stay, and that affected my choice. I was really ready to leave, if the club asked me to. Such affection and trust restrained me. I will multiply my efforts to pay them back. There are the conditions to work well together and build something that could further strengthen our sense of belonging. But the union must be based on values, not results.”

The gaffer rejected the criticism for Atalanta missing out on European football last season.

“I am sorry that many considered 2021/2022 disappointing. That is not true. Besides the previous five ones, it was the best campaign in our 115-year history. We paid the price for injuries, VAR-related blunders and our mistakes. The squad never looked shot or lacked volition. We are all ambitious, but we must remain humble. We can not be convinced to be a top side, because we are not yet, but we are striving to become one.”

Gasperini criticized the directors.

“We had some meaningful departures and cashed in the Champions League money, but we have been stale, especially up front. We bought 20 wing players, and we did not hit on them. Teams get better when they improve their attack. Instead, we did not make additions because we were scoring a lot. Considering the resources, it was the right team to bring in a new champion, like Alejandro Gomez or Josip Ilicic.”