The fallout between Gian Piero Gasperini and Papu Gomez has left scars at Atalanta, so much so that the coach’s decision to take off Josip Ilicic, having brought him on as a substitute, raised some eyebrows.
Gomez’s move to Sevilla came after his relationship with the coach reached the point of no return. The two argued during the Champions League group game against Midtjylland and, from there, the writing appeared to be on the wall for the club’s then-captain.
Ilicic, having been demoted to a substitute’s role in the weekend’s win over Napoli as well, started on the bench on Wednesday, due to the form shown by Colombian duo Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata this season.
Gasperini turned to the No.72 in the 56th minute, withdrawing a tired Muriel. Thirty minutes later, though, the coach decided that Ilicic’s night was over, and replaced him with Ruslan Malinovskyi.
Ilicic didn’t appear overly pleased with the decision, and went straight down the tunnel into the dressing room.
In his time on the pitch, Ilicic didn’t show his best self, and drew criticism from his coach when he showed his frustration with an imperfect pass from a teammate.
“Come on, don’t give up,” Gasperini shouted, as reported by Tuttomercatoweb. “Find something to do instead of raising your arms [to complain]. They’re doing a lot for you.