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Written By Onyeka Daniel

After a run of bad results, Atalanta really needed a win when they faced AC Milan at the Gewiss stadium in Bergamo and they did just that in a emphatic fashion, needing a last minute goal to grab all three points when it looked like it was heading for a draw.

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According to their manager, Gian Piero Gasperini, the La Dea had to adjust to Milan’s changing tactical shape and warns the fans to ‘wait before jeering’ his decisive substitutions. Prior to this game, they had scraped just one point from the last four Serie A games and saw their lead twice clawed back in Bergamo this evening by Olivier Giroud and Luka Jovic.

However, after Davide Calabria saw red for a second bookable offence, Aleksei Miranchuk set up fellow substitute Luis Muriel for a divine back-heel flick from six yards to seal the 3-2 victory. “I never had doubts on the character of this squad over the years,” Gasperini told DAZN. “There are some games where you struggle, we are also playing in the Europa League and were not always as determined or fuelled by the same adrenaline as usual.


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“There are a lot of fixtures, Europe gives us a lot, but takes away too in terms of energy, injuries and focus. “When we are able to prepare and are faced with a team like Milan, we bring out this extraordinary performance.” Lookman said last week that he had never worked so hard in training as he did with Gasperini, which seemed to surprise the coach.

“He never did anything, then! Lookman cannot play every game like tonight, or he’d be amazing, but he is doing very well this season. He has some dips and troughs, but that is normal. What he must learn from this group is to share the same spirit, determination and realise when it’s not your day, then you have to work for the team.” Gasperini also surprised a few in the crowd when he substituted Lookman and De Ketelaere for Miranchuk and Muriel, who went on to combine for the winning goal.

“More than surprised, they were jeering!” said the coach. “I hope they remember next time to wait before jeering a substitution. Muriel scored an extraordinary goal, but I see him do this a lot in training, so they do not come out of nowhere. I tell him he ought to do them in the match situation and tonight he did.” There seemed to be a tactical shift in the second half when Charles De Ketelaere moved further wide left and Lookman was more central.

“Milan are a very versatile team, they can change face and we can do it too. They played with four at the back, but really it was three with Alessandro Florenzi moving into midfield. So we took a while to adjust and get the right movements. “We stopped De Ketelaere chasing down Theo Hernandez too much and he did better there. When you face a team like Milan that changes constantly, you have to be well-prepared. “There were a few similar performances this season where we did not get the result we deserved.”

De Ketelaere at first seemed a little over-awed by facing his parent club and missed a pair of real sitters. “There were a couple of big chances, really! I have said for a while that he is growing, improving and it’s a pleasure to work with him.” He further added. As for De Ketelaere, he admitted that he enjoyed beating his parent club. In a game highlighted by the visitors’ lapses of concentration at the back, the Belgian forward could’ve made a name for himself.

Instead, his epic miss inside the first ten minutes has become viral for all the wrong reasons. It’s unfathomable how the Milan loanee failed to put the ball in the back of the net after finding himself unmarked barely a yard out. De Ketelaere, who joined Atalanta on a season-long loan from Milan in the summer, has enjoyed a mini-renaissance in Bergamo.

“All wins have a special feeling, as it is not easy to win in Serie A, but yes, I admit this win has a different flavor to it. I was so disappointed after that chance, though,” the Milan loanee said in his post match interview. Atalanta can turn the 22-year-old’s switch permanent for a reported €24 million at the end of the season.

Meanwhile…

Fenerbahce are continuing in their pursuit of Milan midfielder Rade Krunic ahead of the January transfer window, and now the Turkish giants’ sporting director is set to travel to Italy to hold talks with the Rossoneri.

The Bosnian international had proved that he was still useful to coach Stefano Pioli at the beginning of the season, starting all of Milan’s first five games of the season until picking up a muscular injury against Hellas Verona in September. Krunic missed the following three Serie A matches, and has only started two of the six league matches since his return.

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With the arrivals of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tijjani Reijnders and Yunus Musah in midfield over the summer, there is a growing feeling that Krunic could be moved on in the near future. Fenerbahce had reportedly made several enquiries during the summer transfer window, but were unable to negotiate a suitable fee with their counterparts at San Siro.

However, the interest has continued and Fenerbahce could soon be due in for face-to-face talks with Milan. According to reports from Italy, Milan are hoping to raise funds in the region of €6m-€7m from Krunic’s potential sale, which could come in handy if they were to bring in new signings of their own in January.

Fenerbahce, meanwhile, would ideally like to bring the asking price down according to Saturday’s update. The Rossoneri want to sign Real Betis left-back, Juan Miranda and also make a push for Stuttgart forward, Seyrou Guirassy and will need to make at least one sale to fund these transfer.

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