Gasperini says Atalanta has “earned the right to fight for Europe”

NAPLES, ITALY - APRIL 22: Players of Atalanta BC celebrate the victory after the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Atalanta BC at Stadio San Paolo on April 22, 2019 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)
NAPLES, ITALY - APRIL 22: Players of Atalanta BC celebrate the victory after the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Atalanta BC at Stadio San Paolo on April 22, 2019 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

The team’s coach says his team will fight hard for a spot in European competitions next year, after beating Napoli 2-1.

Atalanta defeated Italian Lega Serie A second-place club Napoli tonight.

And with that, the team has “earned our right to fight for Europe” said coach Gian Piero Gasperini.

“Napoli were excellent in the first half and had the chances to make it 2-0, at which point it would’ve been difficult,” he was quoted by Football Italia.

“We stayed in there, threw on the options we had on the bench including Josip Ilicic and after the equalizer, we kept riding the momentum.”

He commented: “We have a game that we really are looking forward to on Thursday, but also knew a victory here would give us a huge boost. We’re right up there for Europe and close by to Milan.”

“We haven’t said that we’re in the running for the Champions League, but we’re up there, so we’ll wait and see. There is also the Coppa Italia and reaching the Final would be a great satisfaction for the city of Bergamo.”

EMPOLI, ITALY - MAY 19: Afriye Acquah of Empoli Fc in action during the Serie A match between Empoli and Torino FC at Stadio Carlo Castellani on May 19, 2019 in Empoli, Italy. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Empoli’s survival depends on beating Inter

The team has moved out of the relegation zone in the Italian Lega Serie A, but they need their next three points to be saved.

“The thing we have to focus on is that we are there and we won’t let go now. For me personally, it’d be the fourth season out of five that my team qualified for Europe between Torino and Genoa. It is more than possible to achieve these targets at a mid-level club,” he added.

“With the Coppa Italia, we beat Juventus and earned our right to fight in the semi-final. Tonight we won in Naples and earned our right to fight until the very end for the top four. So we’re not a fluke.”

“I protested because I thought it was a free kick on the edge of the box, but I didn’t leave the technical area. It’s not easy for Coaches to just stand there with hands by our sides during these moments,” Gasperini concluded, talking about being sent off.

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