Thursday, June 13, 2024
HomeEuropa LeagueAtalanta boss admits he couldn't imagine Lookman progress

Atalanta boss admits he couldn’t imagine Lookman progress

Gian Piero Gasperini has said he could not have envisaged the development of Ademola Lookman at Atalanta after the winger scored a hat-trick in his side’s 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League final.

Atalanta ripped up the script to end Leverkusen’s long unbeaten run and secure a first major trophy since 61 years, with their European success this season the crowning glory of the Gasperini era, in which the Italians have punched above their weight at home and in Europe.

 

Lookman was the star of the show with a scintillating hat-trick to down a treble-chasing Leverkusen team, who this season had become the first German team to complete an entire Bundesliga campaign without defeat on route to a maiden title.

The London-born Lookman, who began his career at Charlton Athletic, has been a big hit since arriving in Serie A and Gasperini admits even he has been surprised by the player’s development.

The 26-year-old has scored 30 goals across the last two seasons, having netted just 33 in 198 career appearances before the move to Atalanta.

“We had a senior manager at Atalanta [Lee Congerton] who had worked at Leicester, who saw the opportunity to bring him in and thought he was a possible useful player,” Gasperini said, as per the BBC.

“Nobody could ever imagine he’d could make this much progress. He wasn’t overly prolific in England. I changed his position to a more attacking role.

“Tonight he achieved something which will remain in the annals of football history – a stunning hat-trick.”

Lookman said he always had confidence that he could reach the top level and insisted there is more to come from him.

“I’ve always had the confidence in my ability,” Lookman said.

“In the past two years I’ve been able to take my game to a new level and show it on a more consistent basis.

 

“Maybe it could have come earlier but it’s come now. I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made but this is just the beginning. I hope for more nights like this.”

Read – Five of the most memorable Europa League finals

See more – The u-21 players with 30 goal involvements in a Premier League season

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