Atalanta have to produce A-game to beat Marseille – Gian Piero Gasperini



Posted Thursday, May 02, 2024 by PA

Atalanta have to produce A-game to beat Marseille – Gian Piero Gasperini

Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini feels his team must produce their A-game to overcome Marseille and reach the Europa League final.

The Serie A club begin their two-legged semi-final against the French side at Stade Velodrome on the back of conquering Liverpool in the last round.

“I expect nothing short of a strong outfit,” Gasperini told his club’s website ahead of Thursday’s first leg.

“That’s my take on them after the footage of their games against Villarreal and Benfica (in the previous two rounds): a strong team of indisputable value, as it should be for any semi-finalist.

“We’ll have to be on our A-game tomorrow.”

Atalanta, who sit sixth in Italy’s top flight, are fighting on three fronts in the closing weeks of the campaign after setting up a Coppa Italia final against Juventus since upsetting Jurgen Klopp’s Reds last month.

They will be backed by around 2,800 travelling supporters in the south of France.

Atalanta have to produce A-game to beat Marseille – Gian Piero Gasperini
Atalanta upset Liverpool in the quarter-finals (Peter Byrne/PA)

“We’ve always stressed how much we’d love to take the Atalanta fans and the people of Bergamo around Europe and that’s what we’re doing,” said Gasperini.

“And we’ve been spoiling them too with all these wonderful stadia. They’ll be in for another thrilling experience.”

Atalanta pulled off a stunning 3-0 success at Anfield on April 11 before progressing 3-1 on aggregate.

Croatia international midfielder Mario Pasalic, who claimed his team’s third goal on Merseyside, said: “We have to defend well, like we did against Liverpool, then I’m sure we’ll do our thing up front and create goal scoring opportunities.

“We’re not afraid (of the atmosphere) and can’t be afraid because it’s the performance that counts and it’s 11 against 11.

“We have to isolate ourselves from everything and concentrate on our performance and play our game.”

Marseille are bidding to reach the final of the competition for a fourth time after finishing runners-up in 1999, 2004 and 2018.

They scraped past Benfica on penalties in the quarter-finals but have endured a disappointing domestic campaign and sit seventh in Ligue 1.

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