The application of catenaccio, a system that actually consists of adding a third man to the rear, was extended as a term to almost every type of ultra-defensive football. Mark and put away clothes. For many years it has been a watchword in Italy, but Gianni Brera, Nereo Rocco and Helenio Herrera, the popes of catenaccio or bolt of a lifetime, they would be scared at this Atalanta by Gasperini This Wednesday is measured in the first leg of the round of 16 (9:00 p.m.) of the Champions League against Real Madrid.
His four goals against Napoli last Sunday were not an astral conjunction. The bergamasco team averages 2.18 goals per game this year; the leader Inter of Serie A remains at 2.09 and Cristiano’s all-powerful Juventus, at an average of 2.03. Since the start of 2021, Atalanta drilled the rival net with three or more goals in nine games. He goes up and does not mind conceding goals, he only leaves his goal immaculate in one game out of three …
The Dea (the nickname of the bergamasco club for taking its name from a Greek goddess and heroine), last season was five minutes away from eliminating PSG in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and ended it with 116 goals in all competitions, 98 of them in Serie A. He missed two in the domestic championship to reach a hundred, something that Italy has not seen since 1949.
“Playing against Gasperini is like going to the dentist …”
The architect of the joy that Atalanta transmits is Gian Piero Gasperini, a coach that was not worth to Massimo Moratti. In 2011, when he was dismissed at Inter after just five games, it was extremely tough: “Gasperini ruined everything.” But what for some is a mistake, for others is an opportunity. Antonio Percassi, owner and factotum of Atalanta, wanted a coach who would match his ambition and he found it in Gasperini. “I neither believe nor will I ever believe in waiting for the opponent to make a mistake,” said the Italian coach in The Guardian to explain his philosophy. He prefers to hit first and hit more. In fact, Gasperini has flipped the catenaccio. Instead of encapsulating the team, their system of three centrals in the back pushes them towards the opposing goal and Atalanta becomes unpredictable. For Guardiola, fan of the Italian, “Facing Gasperini is like going to the dentist.”
“We don’t lose … we win or we learn.” Gasperini said so and his team took note. Back in November, they lost 0-2 to Hellas Verona on a penalty, due to an oversight by Toloi. Since then, only one defeat (against the very tough Lazio) in 14 games. They learned their lesson. This almost revolutionary team faces Madrid tomorrow …