Because less players equal more space to pass and move

Atalanta boss says Inter Milan and Juventus are unreachable

Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini has dismissed the club’s prospects of challenging for the Serie A crown following their 5-0 thumping of AC Milan. Atalanta have remained in the top six of the Italian top-flight for most of the season and they have gone into the winter break in the fifth spot, four points behind the Champions League places.

Speaking in a press conference, Gasperini was pleased with the club’s strong end to the year which has seen them keep up in the top-four race and qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. He added that Atalanta are unlikely to recover the 11-point gap to Inter and Juventus in the race for the league title and the focus remains on attaining Champions League football for the next campaign.

He said: “We ended a fantastic 2019 where we have achieved wonderful results, it is the crowning achievement of this season. Now let’s take the right Christmas break and then we will have a lot of commitments. We want to get to Europe, the Champions League won’t be easy, Inter and Juve are unreachable. We are in that small group of teams. Europe for me and for Atalanta can be a constant thing, the ambition is that.”

Atalanta appeared down and out after the opening four group stage games in the Champions League where they registered one point. However, they made a tremendous turnaround with six points acquired from the final two matches and that was sufficient to see them progress to the round of 16 stage of the competition ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk, whom they beat on the final matchday.

Atalanta have now been drawn against Valencia in the last 16 of the Champions League and the game should be open-sided with both teams possessing players, who can outshine each other on their day. The Bergamo-based club return from the winter break with a home game against Parma on January 6.