Gasperini vows to stick to attacking principles against Manchester City

Oleh Daniel Lewis 6 November 2019 13
Gasperini vows to stick to attacking principles against Manchester City

Gian Piero Gasperini has vowed to stick to his principles by sending Atalanta out to attack Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Atalanta lead the scoring charts in Serie A with 30 goals in their first 11 matches of the campaign, including seven in one game against Udinese last month.

However, it has been a different story in their maiden Champions League campaign as Gasperini's men are bottom of Group C without a point after losing 5-1 to City at the Etihad Stadium on October 22.

Rather than look to avoid another humiliation at San Siro, though, Gasperini intends for Atalanta to again go on the offensive, having taken the lead in Manchester.

The coach was not impressed by Southampton's defensive tactics against City on Saturday, even as they pushed Pep Guardiola's men all the way before the Premier League champions won 2-1.

"I saw Manchester City's last match against Southampton, which they won late, but we don't want to do that," he said at Tuesday's news conference.

"We will try to stay true to our brand of football. No one wants to concede lots of goals, but we will play attacking football."

City can guarantee a place in the last 16 with victory in Milan, but Guardiola has been tipped to make changes to his side ahead of Sunday's huge domestic showdown with Liverpool.

Regardless of the line-up fielded by the visitors, Gasperini acknowledges his side have their work cut out to get off the mark in Group C in this fixture.

"I don't think [it is a good time to play them] because Manchester City have 23 or 24 good players, so whoever steps out can do a very good job," he said.

"I think they will be at 100 per cent tomorrow night and ultimately they want to qualify for the next round as soon as possible.

"They will want to get points to secure top spot in the group as soon as possible. I expect to see my team produce a good performance against a quality side and I expect to see our best level.

"Tomorrow's game, despite the ability of Manchester City, is an opportunity for us to see where we are in terms of qualification, finishing third for the Europa League. It's a very tough match."

One change Guardiola is expected to make from the reverse meeting between the two sides last month is at centre-back, with John Stones now back in contention after recovering from a muscle injury.

The England international realises there is added responsibility on his shoulders given the prolonged absence of defensive colleague Aymeric Laporte.

"If you want to put it like that, yeah, I think we've all got to step up as players and fight for our positions," he said. "We've also got to play for the lads who are injured like Aymeric and Leroy [Sane].

"We have to keep setting the standard for each other. That's what's brought us the success last season. We've got to take that responsibility as individuals and as a team."

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