Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini has warned Hapoel Haifa that ‘reaching the Europa League is an objective’ for his side.

Atalanta kick off their Europa League third-round qualifier against Hapoel on Thursday, and Gasperini made it clear the Dea were not in Israel for a holiday.

“We have to travel far, but that’s okay … We’re here to play, it’s not a holiday and we have to read the game very carefully,” he said at a Press conference.

“We have seen some of their matches. You can get to know every aspect of your opponents with video footage.

“Every game is there to be fought for. There’s great balance in European football and last Thursday’s 8-0 also came thanks to the mental decline of our opponents.

“We also did well because we’re still in a phase of preparation. The team are looking good, Zapata is improving and Pasalic has been called up for the first time.

“Ilicic is still out, but overall we’ve had an excellent preseason. Pasalic hasn’t trained a lot so will start from the bench, but he’s part of our team now.

“Pessina will play like he did at Sarajevo. So many games in preseason? For us, reaching the Europa League is an objective. It’s as if the League has already started.”Atalanta kick off their Europa League third-round qualifier against Hapoel on Thursday, and Gasperini made it clear the Dea were not in Israel for a holiday.

“We have to travel far, but that’s okay … We’re here to play, it’s not a holiday and we have to read the game very carefully,” he said at a Press conference.

“We have seen some of their matches. You can get to know every aspect of your opponents with video footage.

“Every game is there to be fought for. There’s great balance in European football and last Thursday’s 8-0 also came thanks to the mental decline of our opponents.

“We also did well because we’re still in a phase of preparation. The team are looking good, Zapata is improving and Pasalic has been called up for the first time.

“Ilicic is still out, but overall we’ve had an excellent preseason. Pasalic hasn’t trained a lot so will start from the bench, but he’s part of our team now.

“Pessina will play like he did at Sarajevo. So many games in preseason? For us, reaching the Europa League is an objective. It’s as if the League has already started.”

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Football Italia staff