Nigerian Footballers Abroad

‘ He is now a dangerous player ‘ – Ademola Lookman receives managers praise after Europa league clash

Atalanta manager, Gian Piero Gasperini, had high praise for Ademola Lookman following La Dea’s 1-1 draw against Sporting Lisbon in the first leg of the Europa League round of 16.

Gasperini believes Lookman has the potential to elevate his game further if he stops being cautious.

The Italian side endured an unfortunate result despite their strong performance, hitting the woodwork three times and having a late goal disallowed for a marginal offside.

Atalanta responded well after falling behind, with Gianluca Scamacca equalizing in the 39th minute after Sporting CP took the lead through Paulinho in the 17th minute.

Although Lookman didn’t find the net himself, Gasperini was impressed by his contribution in the attacking third. Gasperini highlighted Lookman’s development since joining Atalanta last season, noting his increased threat in the final third due to his speed, striking ability, and strong mentality.

“Before, he did not play as an attacking threat, scoring around 6-7 goals a year on average. He played more on the wing and lacked confidence in front of goal,” assessed Gasperini. “Now, he has evolved into a dangerous player in the final 20 meters because of his quickness, ball-striking and strong mentality.

“I occasionally have to motivate him to become an even more complete player because he has the physical qualities to do so. Now and then, he hides a little, but he can be a reference player for the team. This year is undoubtedly better than last year.” Gasperini said of the Super Eagles star.

Lookman missed five games at the start of 2024 due to his involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations, where he scored three goals as Nigeria reached the final against Ivory Coast. Gasperini initially anticipated Lookman’s absence to be short, but Atalanta performed well in Serie A during his absence, winning four and drawing one of their games.

The Super Eagles forward made an impact in his return to the starting lineup, scoring in Atalanta’s 2-1 loss against Bologna at the Gewiss Stadium. Gasperini remains optimistic about Lookman’s continued improvement and contributions to Atalanta’s success in the remainder of the season.

READ ALSO: Super Eagles star scores 8th Serie A goal of the season

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