Gian Piero Gasperini admits the 1-0 result ‘penalises’ Salernitana, but Atalanta are learning that sometimes it is necessary to ‘win ugly’ the way they did at the Stadio Arechi.
It was a victory to end the negative streak, but a barely-deserved one, as they were saved by the woodwork and Juan Musso before a late Duvan Zapata strike.
Gasp clearly wasn’t happy with the performance, making three substitutions at half-time, but it paid off with the Josip Ilicic assist.
“We met a team with great energy, an atmosphere that made them fired up and it was a difficult match,” the coach told DAZN.
La Dea have now started the season with two consecutive away victories, even if they weren’t good performances.
“That is football! It is not always easy to explain. Salernitana started strong, they were coming off three defeats, so felt the adrenaline more than we did, but as soon as they lowered the intensity, we took control.
“It is a result that penalises Salernitana, we won’t lie, but this is football.”
Gasperini confirms playing a few days after a Champions League trip to Villarreal had perhaps made Atalanta less fired up than Salernitana?
“It’s true that there is a concern playing after the Champions League that it’s a different level of motivation and there is the risk you might underestimate a fixture like this against Salernitana. Mentality is very important and with a bit of luck we got the points this evening.”
On the other hand, Atalanta have always started seasons slowly under Gasperini and ‘winning ugly’ is not something they tend to do regularly.
“I’ve won a few games playing ‘ugly’ and lost a lot more playing well. It’s more difficult every year to repeat ourselves, to keep raising the bar, especially when there’s a lot more attention on us now. Once again, the mind controls everything and we need to work on that more than anything else.”
Amid an injury crisis, Davide Zappacosta was re-routed to a new more advanced role.
“Zappacosta can do anything! He has good feet, can run hard and is one of the best wingbacks I’ve ever worked with, and I have worked with some very good ones. I hope he can receive a recall for the Italy squad.”