Pep Guardiola's gesture praised by Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini
Manchester City boss saluted by rival ahead of Champions League clash
Last Updated: 22/10/19 12:01am
Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini paid tribute to Pep Guardiola as his side arrived in England for their Champions League clash with Manchester City on Tuesday night.
The 61-year-old feels he owes the former Barcelona boss a debt of gratitude for the kindness he showed him after being sacked by Inter Milan.
Gasperini lasted just five games in charge at the San Siro in 2011.
He has since rebuilt his career by guiding Atalanta to the Champions League for the first time, a feat Guardiola has described as "incredible".
Speaking at his press conference ahead of Tuesday's Group C game at the Etihad Stadium, Gasperini said: "His compliments are very welcome. I have got nothing to add to what has already been said about Pep Guardiola, not just as a coach but as a human being.
"He made a really nice gesture towards me and I can't forget that. This makes this occasion even more poignant.
"When I was sacked by Inter he called me and invited me to go to Barcelona to see them. It was a very nice gesture from a human point of view at a very difficult moment for me."
Atalanta finished third in Serie A last season and also reached the final of the Coppa Italia.
They are again third in the table after a bright start to the current campaign, although they are still to register a point in the Champions League after defeats to Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Gasperini said: "It is an award to be here to play a match like this and I am very proud.
"It is very difficult match but in the history of Atalanta it is a game we have to view very positively.
"We hope to play well and make a good impression. We are playing one of the best teams in the world."