Valencia have slammed Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini after he confessed to attending the second-leg of their Champions League game in Spain despite suffering from Covid-19.
In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Gasperini said he was sick and scared the day before the match on March 10 but still attended and managed the team from the bench as they claimed a 4-3 victory to seal an 8-4 aggregate win.
While not tested for coronavirus at the time, tests since have shown the Atalanta manager now has coronavirus antibodies stemming from having had the illness at some point.
The match in Spain was played behind closed doors as the virus began spreading around Europe but Gasperini’s decision to attend the game has been questioned by Valencia, who feel he put people’s safety at huge risk.
“Given the statements by Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini, which appeared in the Italian press this Sunday, Valencia CF wishes to publicly express its surprise at the fact that the coach of the rival team in the UEFA Champions League 1/8 final tie League recognises that both the day before and the day of the match played on March 10 in Mestalla he was aware of, at least himself, being suffering symptoms presumably compatible with the coronavirus without taking preventive measures, putting at risk, if that had been the case, to numerous people during their trip and stay in Valencia,” a club statement read.
“It must be remembered that this party was held behind closed doors, surrounded by strict measures in this regard, by obligation of the Spanish health authorities to prevent the risk of contagion by Covid-19, precisely in the presence of people from an area already in that publicly rated risk date.”
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Though Gasperini didn’t test positive for coronavirus before the game in March, his symptoms were extreme and had the coach concerned for his health.
“I was scared. The day before the game I was sick, the afternoon of the game worse. The two nights after I slept little,” Gasperini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“If you look at the pictures, I did not look good on the bench. That was March 10. The two nights afterwards, I did not sleep well. I didn’t have a fever, but I felt like I did.
“Every two minutes, an ambulance would go past, as there’s a hospital near the training ground. It sounded like a warzone. At night I would think: ‘What will happen to me if I go into that hospital? I can’t go now, I have so much still to do.’
“It was in a way a joke with myself to lighten the mood, but on the other hand, I really did think about that.”
The Italian Serie A is now due to resume on June 20, with Atalanta currently sitting fourth in the table.