Atalanta coach ahead of semi: ‘The most important match of my career’

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini gestures on the touchline during the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals soccer match against RB Leipzig at Gewiss Stadium. Jan Woitas/dpa

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini says it is a "historic" week for his side whether they win their Europa League semi-final against Marseille on Thursday or not.

The Italians, who have never reached this stage in Europe before, host the French side with the scores locked at 1-1 from last week's first leg.

"Even without the final it will be an extraordinary year," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

Atalanta also face Juventus in the Coppa Italia final on May 15, having only won that competition once before in 1963.

But for now, the Europa League second leg is "the most important match of my career," the former Genoa, Palermo and Inter coach said.

"The extraordinary journey we have taken so far will perhaps be better assessed in a few years’ time. But we have already shown that even at a smaller club, without huge finances but with ideas, management and a sense of belonging, it is possible to create a team that identifies totally with the area and wins trophies."