Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini was left pinching himself as his side scored four more goals away to Valencia on Tuesday evening.
A 4-3 win sealed an 8-4 aggregate victory to send La Dea into the quarter-finals of the Champions League in their maiden campaign in the competition.
Atalanta are Serie A’s top scoring side with 70 from their 25 games, but Gasperini reminded UEFA.com afterwards that their exploits shouldn’t be taken for granted, however consistently they hit four, five or even seven in a game.
“It’s never normal to score so many goals – it truly is special,” he said after the final whistle in Spain, “both in the domestic league and in the Champions League.
“We’ve won five games in a row, and the Champions League helps us improve. For now we’re very happy for what we’ve achieved.”
Atalanta have become the first Italian side to reach the @ChampionsLeague quarter-finals in their debut season in the competition since Lazio in 1999/2000.#ValenciaAtalanta #UCL pic.twitter.com/4NhyOuVyIc
— ForzaItalianFootball (@SerieAFFC) March 10, 2020
La Dea took the lead inside three minutes from the penalty spot, but Gasperini still felt his players weren’t at their best in the first half.
“The initial penalty obviously helped us,” he acknowledged.
“We struggled in the first half, but did much better in the second.
“It’s never easy against Valencia. We did a lot of good things.
“We wanted to win at all costs, to underline what happened in the first leg.”