“We got our whole interpretation of the match wrong, we faced it in the wrong way and it became difficult to change our attitude,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli said. “On a tactical level, a technical level and a physical level Atalanta was better than us.
“This is a defeat which really hurts. We are responsible for our performance and today we played well below our level. A game like this should not be allowed to happen. We have to put in performances on the pitch worthy of the shirt that we wear."
Atalanta moved into fifth place, four points behind Roma and the final Champions League berth, heading into the winter break. Milan is 10 points behind Atalanta and down in 11th. Atalanta broke the deadlock in the 10th minute through Alejandro “Papu” Gomez but it wasn’t until after the hour that the floodgates opened.
Mario Pasalic scored against his former team in the 61st and Josip Ilicic made it 3-0 two minutes later. Ilicic doubled his tally as Milan fell apart and substitute Luis Muriel sealed the humiliation five minutes after coming off the bench.
In a weekend of contrasting fortunes, Inter Milan beat relegation-threatened Genoa 4-0 on Saturday to move level on points with Juventus at the top of the Serie A table heading into the winter break. The league resumes on Jan. 5.
FIRST POINTS Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso picked up his first points in charge of the southern-based club as it won 2-1 at Sassuolo — but it needed an own-goal in stoppage time to do so. Pedro Obiang tried to clear the ball from Napoli midfielder Eljif Elmas but succeeded only in turning it into his own net.
It was Napoli’s first league win in nine matches. Gattuso had lost his first match as Napoli coach last week against Parma and his side was poor in the first half on Sunday. Napoli was lucky only to be 1-0 down at halftime. Sassuolo teenager Hamed Junior Traorè had scored his second goal in as many matches, volleying in from a tight angle.
The visitors improved after the interval and Allan leveled in the 57th with a swiveling shot. Napoli forward Jose Callejon hit the crossbar and had a goal ruled out late on. Obiang had also hit the woodwork earlier before scoring at the wrong end.
OTHER MATCHES Parma midfielder Alberto Grassi scored a stoppage-time equalizer to secure a 1-1 draw and prevent Brescia from spending the winter break out of the relegation zone. Mario Balotelli had come off the bench to break the deadlock.
Brescia managed to cut the gap to safety to one point after Lecce lost 3-2 at home to Bologna.
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