Atalanta coach defends his decision not to start Lookman against NapoliPublished: March 12, 2023
Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini has defended his decision not to name Ademola Lookman in his starting lineup against Napoli on Saturday evening.
Duván Zapata and Rasmus Højlund got the nod to start in attack for the Lombardy outfit, a decision that saw Lookman remain rooted to the bench until the 89th minute.
To make matters worse, Nigeria manager Jose Peseiro was present at the Diego Maradona Stadium to watch two potential invitees for the upcoming 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Guinea-Bissau, but could only feast his eyes on Lookman for less than five minutes including stoppage time.
Lookman is currently experiencing his worst goal drought since his move to Atalanta last summer, having failed to find the back of the net in six consecutive games in the Serie A.
Speaking to DAZN post-match, Gasperini was asked to explain why Højlund was substituted at halftime and Lookman didn't start.
In quotes relayed by Pianeta Napoli, he replied : "Højlund and Lookman? It's not true that I don't like Højlund, he had a strong opponent and you cannot always be decisive. Maybe Zapata played better today. It doesn't mean anything.
"The same goes for Lookman, he helped keep the team up at the start of the season, but one bad game doesn't change anything."
Lookman has directly participated in nineteen goals (14 goals, 5 assists) in 27 all-competition appearances for Atalanta.
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