Gian Piero Gasperini has been in charge at Atalanta since 2016.

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini has said he would not be able to turn down the Italy job if he were to be offered it and claimed he is ready for a big job.

The former Genoa coach spent an ill-fated few months in charge of Inter Milan at the start of the 2011-12 season, but he claims the Nerazzurri were “not a big club” at the time.

Alongside Antonio Conte and Roberto Mancini, his name has been mentioned for the vacant Italy job.

“I’ve heard the rumours too and it’s nice recognition,” Gasperini told Tuttosport. “I don’t have any real news on it, but I would have no problem taking on the role, even if obviously being coach of your country is different to being a club coach.

“I don’t recall having ever been in charge of a big club. [Inter] were hardly a big club in terms of the technical values that they had.”

Gasperini said he would not really be tempted by taking a job outside of Italy, on the other hand, with his adventures into Europe limited to Atalanta’s Europa League outings — the next of which takes them to Borussia Dortmund on Thursday.

“I don’t particularly like that kind of adventure,” he said. “I’m happy in Italy, in my world. To move abroad, I would have to be offered something really big and fascinating. I know that Italian coaches are doing well everywhere. We have the best school of coaches because Serie A is the most difficult league around.”

Gasperini has excelled in such a tough environment and is taking pleasure in the job he is doing in Bergamo, where he has led Atalanta to the last 32 of the Europa League in their first European campaign since reaching the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup in 1991.

“This is a really satisfying time for me,” he said. “I’m just doing in Bergamo what I already did with Genoa, where I didn’t get the same level of recognition, particularly not from the media. I am getting a lot back here. Whereas in Genoa, I was receiving the esteem of the fans, here I feel I am getting great consideration and people are enthusiastic.

“I want us to do the best we can in all three competitions we are in. The Europa League is giving us a buzz, but we’ve got to remember back to the beginning, when we just had the aim of giving a good account of ourselves.

“We had a tough group, but as we made progress, we saw we had the chance of qualifying and we took it. We’re not favourites against Borussia Dortmund, but we’ll try to make things difficult for them. I can’t say that we’ll snatch it, but we’ll definitely give it our best shot over two legs.

“Our aim is to raise the bar. Even against Napoli in the Coppa Italia, it seemed like Atalanta had no chance, yet we got through. So it’s like I say: we won’t give up on anything. I’d prefer to beat both of [Dortmund and Juventus].”

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.


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Gian Piero Gasperini has been in charge at Atalanta since 2016.Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini has said he would not be able to turn down the Italy job if he were to be offered it and claimed he is ready for a big job. The former Genoa coach spent...