• News

Gasperini explains how Atalanta will stop Neymar

Neymar, PSG, Atalanta
Getty Images

Gian Piero Gasperini rates Neymar as one of the world’s best, but has a plan for Atalanta to stop the PSG star in tonight’s clash.

Neymar will likely shoulder most of Paris Saint-Germain’s hopes tonight in the upcoming Champions League quarter-final clash against Atalanta, as Kylian Mbappe’s role is doubtful.

The French striker has returned to training following an ankle injury and could play in the game. It’s uncertain, though, what his role will be. PSG boss Thomas Tuchel remained coy on this aspect, only going as far as to suggest he’ll make the squad.

Angel Di Maria, meanwhile, is suspended for the Parisians, and Marco Verratti is out injured. Therefore, Neymar will be the key man in Lisbon.

But while Atalanta boss Gasperini is wary of the former Barcelona star’s talents, he hopes an organized defense will put the brakes on him.

“He is undoubtedly one of the strongest in the world. It’s a problem for anyone to face him,” said Gasperini, according to beIN SPORTS.

“The best way to defend is to play well. We’ll try to stop him with our organisation. We’ve faced a lot of strong players.”

Regardless of whatever may happen in Portugal, the Atalanta players can leave with their heads held high.

La Dea secured a second successive top-four finish in the Serie A and finished with the best offensive record on 98 goals, with second-place Inter Milan 17 goals adrift.

Reaching the quarter-finals in their first Champions League campaign was another formidable achievement. It’s a great source of pride for the Bergamo region, which was hit hard by COVID-19.

“We know very well the anticipation around this match, given the passion and love around Bergamo for Atalanta,” continued Gasperini.

“This year, there is even more motivation given all that has happened. It’s a football match but we have to represent our region in the best way possible.

“We arrive in the best mental condition. We’ve got some very important results after the lockdown.

“We are proof that even a team without a European heritage can do well and achieve important goals through playing, enthusiasm and other things.

“We have a responsibility to ourselves not to disappoint. We want to continue to show that Atalanta can sit at the table of the biggest clubs.”