The Nigerian forward was replaced in the second half as the Blue-Black searched for an equaliser against the league leaders
Veteran Italian manager Gian Piero Gasperini has defended his decision to replace Ademola Lookman during Atalanta’s narrow 2-1 defeat at home to Inter Milan on Saturday, Soccernet.ng reports.
The Gewiss Stadium witnessed two equally matched teams until Hakan Calhanaglu gave Inter Milan the lead from the penalty spot shortly before the halftime break.
Lautaro Martinez doubled the visitors’ lead five minutes into the second half with a fantastic strike to leave Atalanta scurrying around for crumbs.
But on the hour mark, Lookman gave the home side a lifeline when he robbed Federico Dimarco on the edge of the box and laid it off for Gianluca Scamacca to score for Atalanta.
However, with ten minutes left, head coach Gasperini withdrew Lookman and Koopmeiners and sent on De Ketelaere and Muriel as he looked for a late equaliser.
When he was replaced, Lookman was one of Atalanta’s best players on the pitch, as he had won nine of his 13 duels, fired three shots, and completed two of his three dribbles.
During the press conference at the end of the encounter, Sky Sports journalist Massimiliano Nebuloni asked Gasperini why he substituted Lookman, who was having a great game.
But the Atalanta coach did not like the question, and he attacked the reporter with his blunt response.
As per Calcio Totale 24, Gasperini said: “I replaced him because Muriel came in, didn’t you like him? He didn’t have any problems; he played a great game. But what are you talking about every time?
“If you go and see all the teams replace strikers, you try to bring in fresh people. Your deductions are wrong.
“I hope they have the same feeling as me, that of being there; these matches must give you the strength to play the next ones with something more.”
Lookman has three goals and two assists in 11 Serie A appearances, with only Scamacca contributing more goals (6) than the Super Eagles attacker.