Saelemaekers Thanks Motta, Takes Atalanta Example for Bologna

Bologna winger Alexis Saelemaekers believes Bologna have huge potential inside them to grow into title contenders, taking the example of what Atalanta have done in recent years. After being excluded by Stefano Pioli’s Milan season plans, the Belgian made a surprise move to the Rossoblu on loan, with the convincing of Thiago Motta.

In an exclusive interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport (via TuttoBolognaweb), Saelemaekers dished on his experience so far at Bologna.

“We spoke to each other (Motta). I have never received words like his from a coach. I had lost my joy, I didn’t have much trust or time to play in my last year at Milan. I was down in the dumps, that’s it. Motta said: ‘You will be important to me.’ It’s the simplicity that gave me my smile back. And made me feel the same as before. I had lost joy and also trust in people, the smile. Motta and Bologna made me feel important again.”

According to Saelemaekers, Bologna have great ambition to move up the table and improve, similar to what Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta have done over the past half-decade.

“When I arrived at Milan at the age of 23, there was a situation similar to the one I see here in Bologna, given the due proportions. It is a team with many good young people, some expert players and a desire to grow.”

“I hope it happens here too: I certainly believe that this team is strong, not only for the results but because of the club’s good transfer strategies. And in the club I see a great desire to move up, similar to Atalanta. It depends on us, on our mentality. The potential is there.”

Saelemaekers is slowly being introduced into Motta’s plans, but his ankle injury has so far played spoilsport in gaining minutes at the Dall’Ara.

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