Gian Piero Gasperini AtalantaGetty Images

'Offensive and ugly!' - Atalanta coach hits back over coronavirus controversy

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini has labelled controversy surrounding his coronavirus diagnosis as both "offensive and ugly".

Gasperini recently confirmed he was suffering from flu-like symptoms when Atalanta took on Valencia in the second-leg of their Champions League last-16 clash in March and would later test positive for having had Covid-19. 

Valencia were far from happy with the revelation, as they released a statement questioning his decision to still attend the match, which the Serie A side won 4-3. 

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Gasperini himself, however, feels the matter has been blown out of proportion and feels offended by the speculation surrounding his actions. 

"It is a very offensive controversy," Gasperini told Sky Italia on Thursday.

"I know I respected the protocols, I was in quarantine like everyone else. I did not do a swab test but in May when we did serological tests I discovered that I had contracted the virus.

"I had aches and pains, but I never had a fever or lung problems of any kind. When I left Bergamo I was fine, I had some problems in the evening and the next day. But the controversy is offensive and ugly."

Atalanta owner Antonio Percassi has given his backing to Gasperini, insisting the club followed the rules and are moving forward.

"I am with Gasperini and the players. I am looking ahead," he told L'Eco di Bergamo.

"The controls say that, like Atalanta with our members, we did everything in compliance with the rules and with the utmost prudence. This is fundamental for us. We are in Bergamo."

Speaking about his experience with coronavirus, Gasperini admitted he genuinely feared for his life as Italy struggled to contain the pandemic. 

"I was scared. The day before the game I was sick, the afternoon of the game worse. The two nights after I slept little," Gasperini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“If you look at the pictures, I did not look good on the bench. That was March 10. The two nights afterwards, I did not sleep well. I didn’t have a fever, but I felt like I did.

“Every two minutes, an ambulance would go past, as there’s a hospital near the training ground. It sounded like a war zone. At night I would think: 'What will happen to me if I go into that hospital? I can’t go now, I have so much still to do.'

“It was in a way a joke with myself to lighten the mood, but on the other hand, I really did think about that."