Gasperini: 'Every game a battle'

Gian Piero Gasperini concedesAtalanta weren’t at their best in the 2-1 defeat to SPAL, but “it’s a very difficult and finely-balanced league this year.”

This was an entirely unexpected defeat to the club propping up the table, especially as the last two home games ended 5-0 against Milan and Parma.

Josip Ilicic had given the Bergamo boys an early lead, only for Andrea Petagna and Mattia Valoti to turn it around.

“SPAL are a good team, despite their current position, and had put in good performances lately,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“I knew they were in good shape and in these conditions, they had to give something more to climb up the table.

“As for us, we were at least a couple of gears off the pace in terms of intensity, focus, determination. We also missed both right-sided wingers and had to improvise.

“We had the chances, but didn’t finish them off and a few players weren’t at their best tonight, so we paid for that. The biggest problems were in defence, as we were too passive and left a lot of gaps, not recovering the ball enough with pressing.

“This is a season that will change completely in the second half, as it’s very tight in every area of the table. Everyone will step up and give their best, especially over the next two-three months, so it’ll be open warfare for every single match.

“It’s a very difficult and finely-balanced league this year.”

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