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Sport

New players bring tricky dilemma for Atalanta coach

(Reuters) - After a flying start to the Serie A season, Atalanta have hit a rough patch and coach Gian Piero Gasperini has conceded they risk losing more points as he tries to phase in the players signed during the transfer window.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Atalanta v Sampdoria - Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy - October 24, 2020 Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini reacts REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

Gasperini’s side are one of the most stable in Italy, with few changes over the last three seasons, but have brought in reinforcements to help them face a relentless fixture list of Serie A and Champions League matches.

The new signings include Russian international midfielder Aleksei Miranchuk, Colombian defender Johan Mojica, Dutch forward Sam Lammers and Argentine defender Cristian Romero.

Gasperini, who has turned Atalanta into the most entertaining side in Serie A despite limited resources, now has to get them settled without disrupting his team’s fluid style -- which is already proving a challenge.

After winning their first three Serie A games and blasting 13 goals, Atalanta have lost their last two including last Saturday’s match at home to Sampdoria when Gasperini made seven changes to his starting line-up.

“I did too many experiments and the team was a sort of construction site,” he said after the 3-1 defeat.

“We need to get the new players settled as soon as possible, but, on the other hand, we must balance it with not performing too many experiments when we need to get points in the early rounds of the season.”

Atalanta, who have nine points, have finished fourth and third the last two seasons but there are always doubts as to how long they can keep it up.

They visit promoted Crotone on Saturday and Gasperini is expecting another rough ride against a team that held champions Juventus 1-1 two weeks ago.

“It was a good start to the season with three consecutive victories, but we probably need to go through some steps before we find the definitive shape. It’s tough in Serie A, as if you are not at your best, it’s difficult to get a result against any opponent,” he said.

“With so many matches to play in three competitions, we have to get the new boys settled otherwise there simply aren’t enough of us. It might take a few months and this is probably why Atalanta tend to do better in the second half of the season.”

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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