ROME – Gasperini tries to hide ("it's already an honor to be here") but he hasn't come to Manchester to be a sparring partner to Guardiola's latest and greatest creation. Manchester City-Atalanta tonight at the Etihad Stadium is announced as a spectacular match, despite the favors of the prediction being directed towards the English one way.
Delayed by six points from Liverpool leaders in the league, the Citizens remain a perfect machine, combined irresistibly with very good feet and game organization. But Atalanta seems to be the only team equipped to reveal its very few weak points, including the recent allergy to role defenders, the latest revolution.
Man-to-man duels across the field, a thousand intensity from the kick-off to recovery, enthusiasm. Despair: if the Champions adventure does not win at least once between the rounds, it is over before starting after the two initial blows.
A challenge that starts with benches. On the eve, however, words of honey and violins between the two. Guardiola makes no secret of appreciating the Gasp, and not just for luck or pre-tactics: "Doing what Atalanta is doing is like winning the championship: seeing it is a joy". The Atalantini technician doesn't take the bait ("he wants us to play uncovered") but he can't hide his satisfaction. And in a press conference he reveals a significant episode, which says a lot about the Catalan technician.
"On Guardiola as a coach I can add little, but in terms of human depth there is a very beautiful gesture of his that I don't forget. Eight years ago, on the day of my exoneration from Inter, Estiarte called me his 'shoulder', at Pep's invitation, to go to Barcelona and spend a few days with them. The Barcelona was then on the roof of the world and its trainer gave me such a gesture of consideration: it is a gesture that I do not forget ".
Unforgettable moments. But tonight we play, the seconds out. (source Gazzetta dello Sport)
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