Luxury guest today at ‘Sky Calcio Club’. In fact, the Atalanta coach is present in the studies of the broadcast conducted by Fabio Caressa Gian Piero Gasperini: “I didn’t see the Kessie episode because I was in the car. In my opinion yesterday’s episode is still different, what Irrati knew was that Palomino had scored and therefore he was offside, he scored. Maybe it was a miscommunication, but if he were given an active offside he would go see him again. There is no justification because the VAR cannot decide whether the offside is active or passive. These recordings between them seem to be state secrets, they should let us listen to them. There can also be the error, just admit that you have made a mess, otherwise there is always the doubt of something that is not right. There is the possibility to clarify, then obviously the referee’s mistake must be accepted. There was a clear penalty on Zapata, but that is the referee’s mistake and you accept it. The episode of the second goal, on the other hand, is even heavier “.
He changed the way of doing football a bit, bringing Atalanta closer to Europe.
“It is a great pride for me, if there was even just one element that affected other teams it would be an incredible attestation. For many years I was considered a madman, playing football that had no future, even when I had achieved good results at Genoa ten years ago. I have to thank the clubs and players who helped me make it happen ”.
You are inspired by total Dutch football.
“I started playing in the zone with a coach named Catuzzi, at the time Zeman was in Serie C, the only team playing in the zone was Pescara, Sacchi at the time was still at Rimini. More than the zone, it was the pressing that changed my way of seeing football, much more with the ball and with possession. Then obviously in recent years I think I have changed ”.
The start of the season was complicated.
“This year has been a strange season for the injuries that have hit everyone across the board. It is difficult to say if Covid, the European Championship or the many matches have to do with it, I hope that one day science will help. There is no doubt that all of them, some before or after, have had a certain number of injuries. We had them in the beginning and we never had all these muscle problems. We are slowly coming out of it, but it is a good theme “.
Should we also deal with mental injuries?
“That is even more difficult, working on the head is not easy. Then there were some particular situations that are a matter for psychologists and psychiatrists, for example what happened to Ilicic. It’s nice to see him play again, there were times when he didn’t want to play anymore. It has very good moments. He has never been as motivated as this year, he is recovering from his best condition, he is perhaps a bit burdened by drugs, but now he is also stronger mentally ”.
I’ve seen players who can’t do the things they do at Atalanta elsewhere.
“It is clear that like all teams they have a well-organized organization, but ours leads you to attack forward. I have often found a good predisposition on the part of the players. We scored three goals against Napoli who took very few. You can’t have it all, sometimes you have to make choices. For years we have heard that in Serie A you only won with defense, which is true. But even if you want to save yourself, you need to win ten games more than twenty draws ”.
Which is the strongest team?
“They are all three strong. After 18 days I think the ranking is true, but in my opinion the strongest team is Napoli. When we faced it you were also without many elements ”.
“We did well, but if they win ten games in a row it’s difficult. We have recovered several points at Milan, we travel very strongly, but the former have been able to make ten victories in a row. Yesterday we exaggerated, we didn’t play a good game forward, we remained too static with an organized defense of Roma, we exaggerated in bringing the defenders forward ”.
The comparisons with Ajax?
“In football, after centuries, nothing is invented anymore, something is always copied from someone. Ajax was perhaps the last team I saw invent something, it certainly influenced me a lot. I do not give the solutions but I find them on the pitch with the players, for example I could not imagine that Demiral had this ability to achieve. Of course we need to find ways to bring him into the area. Malinovskyi for example was taken as a director, then seeing him on the pitch we exploited more other characteristics ”.
When choosing a player what is the characteristic that he must have?
“It must have a strong quality, then a role can have a thousand different interpretations, there are many types of attackers and midfielders, you need at least one quality in which they are strong. Then the other fundamental condition is the head, which is often valued too little. When I was auditioning children, you had to understand in a few minutes if there were any qualities, for me it was a fantastic school. In Italy there is a lot of talk about tactics, but I like to talk about the players. That’s one thing I’m passionate about as hell. We have a mentally very solid and varied group, we have many nationals but all from different nations and we also have many South Americans, with different cultures. Then together also players like Ilicic and Muriel, who were more indolent before, work well. For me it is important that they find satisfaction and enjoyment “.
How come your messages weren’t picked up by a big name?
“There was Inter, in fact I trained there for 15 days, we haven’t even started working. My great satisfaction was Genoa, then calls came from abroad but I’ve always wanted to coach in Italy. Like everyone else, I need to have strong sharing from society. The coach is the weakest link, in Italy he doesn’t even choose the players. The coach often trains what he finds, perhaps without even looking at the roles, with numerous squads. This is a serious problem for the coaches ”.
How sorry is the elimination in the Champions League?
“Very, very much. There is a difference between Serie A and Europe, but this year our football has come very close thanks to a bit of all of them, not only those who are at the top but also some like Spezia, Empoli, Venice. I was very sorry because it was within our reach, it wasn’t Real Madrid last year, this was a match within reach. If we had arrived with two results, perhaps we would have made it, it is difficult for us to reach the last one with the obligation to win. Villarreal has monetized everything to the maximum “.
Did you see Zaniolo well?
“This guy has had some incredible injuries. He has everything, physically and technically, to be a top. We hope that its evolution is such because Italy needs it. I would let him play in attack, even if over time I made the attacking midfielder also fit into my schemes ”.
Does Inter have a superior dimension to the others?
“Absolutely yes, in fact it is first in the standings. Up to now it has shown a solidity superior to the others. Objectively, I thought that Lukaku’s absence could be more decisive, but Inzaghi was good at compensating with the whole ”.
“That role was also played by Acerbi at Lazio. The solutions he brought with him and he is going well. Then each team has its particularities and its choices, it is not enough to do everyone like Inter. We always play to try to win the game and this sometimes leads us to lose a few games, but also to win 11 out of 18 ”.
“It was a fantastic school. There was a period in my first Genoa in which there was talk of me, but the opportunity never came. It was a fantastic school for me both as a kid and as a youth coach ”.
Did you meet Paolo Rossi?
“Yes, he was a little older, I was the Allievi and he was the Primavera. He was a great person. Juve for me was a great school of life, they were very formative years “.
Did you expect Juve’s difficulties?
“No but I think Juventus will still come out. We were 12 from Napoli and Milan after the first few days, everything is possible. I was convinced that Juve would be the protagonist, they have good players, I wouldn’t make them poor as some have painted. I think it is destined to make a second round on other levels, certainly for the Scudetto it is very far away but it is in the running for the Champions League “.
Look at the statistics?
“No, I’m not passionate, even those of ball possession I don’t look at. Some are significant, but they need to be analyzed, for example where you have ball possession and how many times you enter the box ”.
Do you want to win the Europa League?
“We always play to win, of course. When we talk about winning we are talking about the Scudetto, the Champions League or the Italian Cup. That is still here for me, we’ll try again. Of course, winning the Scudetto or the Champions League is tough, you have to make more mistakes than someone. We have been proposing for some years around 80-85 points, it is difficult to make 90 points. We have the goal of improving ourselves, we have a parameter that is ours, the others at other times spent 100 million for a player. We must not be static but have our base and from there always try to put an extra comma “.
“We sold Romero who I honestly thought was staying, Demiral was a great deal and Koopmeiners is still strong, even if he has landed in a role where we are covered. Atalanta cannot make a mistake in signings, if we don’t go to the Champions League we lose 50 million, the same if we make a mistake with a player. We have taken strong drivers like Miranchuk but we have three players in the same role, this is a mistake that we still pay now because we are missing a comma elsewhere. But it is experience. Over the years we have made some mistakes “.
Was it close to Rome at some point?
“I met Fienga and he made a huge impression on me, I was convinced he would do very well. But that year Atalanta would have fought to go to the Champions League and then in the end we went in place of Roma, for me it was more important “.
The youth teams?
“Seeing the youth sectors 50% made up of foreigners, I am very sorry for our football. Everyone who makes up the teams, who are never the coaches, often doesn’t have the knowledge of player development, they get players to win right away. Often the role of the sporting directors is in contrast to that of the coaches, who often accept offers because there is a line of ten coaches to coach a team even in Serie B “.
Your impact with Atalanta?
“Atalanta has always brought out talents on an old team base, which had to be saved and there I risked my life. On the last day we won against Napoli, but also against Pescara I had players like Petagna, Gagliardini etc. It’s a team that has changed skin over the years “.
Is there a coach in which you review your ability to influence teams?
“I like everyone who is in Serie A, surely there will be many good ones in Serie B. Unfortunately I can’t follow it as I did before”.