The Nigerian international was the Black-and-Blues’ best player on the pitch before he was replaced by the Italian manager
Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini has backed his decision to replace Ademola Lookman in the second half of the club’s 3-2 win over AC Milan in Bergamo on Saturday, Soccernet.ng reports.
Lookman was the most outstanding Atalanta player by a country mile in Bergamo as the home team sought their seventh league win of the campaign.
The Super Eagles winger scored both of Atalanta’s goals and was on course for his first Serie A hat-trick since arriving in Italy last year.
However, coach Gasperini withdrew Lookman in the 82nd minute and replaced him with Luis Muriel.
The Atalanta fans expressed their displeasure with the substitution by booing the manager and the Colombian forward.
Interestingly, Muriel netted the winner late on with a classy backheel and coach Gasperini is convinced that the Atalanta faithfuls will think twice before whistling at him next time.
At ...-match press conference monitored by TuttoSport, Gasperini explained:
“Replacement of Lookman? There were some whistles but Muriel was great at turning them into applause.
“He scored an extraordinary goal; next time we’ll think twice about booing him. He often scores these goals in training; I’m very happy for him.”
Lookman, though, was undoubtedly Atalanta’s best player of the afternoon.
The former Everton forward headed home the opening goal for Atalanta in the first half and turned home his side’s second goal earlier in the second half from close range.
Milan’s goalkeeper denied him a third with a stunning one-handed save, and his dribbles and unpredictability caused the visitors a lot of worrying moments.
And Gasperini had praises for his Nigerian import, stating that the 26-year-old would be an unstoppable beast if he played every game like he did against Milan.
“Did Lookman say that he has never worked so hard? He never did anything then (laughs),” the Italian manager said.
“He can’t play every game like he does tonight otherwise he would be a monster. You have to understand that days aren’t always good and that you have to make yourself available to the team: I think he’s a good guy.”
Lookman has six goals and two assists in 15 Serie A games this season. Last term, the former Leicester City ace notched 13 goals and eight assists in 31 league games for Atalanta.