Valencia on Atalanta coach coronavirus admission: He put numerous people at risk

Valencia have criticised Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini for taking charge of his side's Champions League round-of-16 return leg on March 10 despite suffering from symptoms of the coronavirus.

Gasperini told Gazzetta dello Sport that he has since tested positive from an antibodies test and he "felt terrible" while in Valencia and "didn't look well while on the bench [during the game]."

- ESPN+: Stream ESPN FC TV daily and 30 for 30: Soccer Stories
- "WE. GO. AGAIN." Premier League stars react to June 17 restart
- Insider Notebook: United battle Liverpool for Werner

The 62-year-old added: "It was the 10th of March and the following two nights I hardly slept. I felt like I was in pieces....I thought if I go to hospital, what will happen to me?"

Valencia said in a statement they were shocked that if Gasperini knowingly had symptoms of the virus, as he claimed that he did at the time, that the coach did not take "preventative measures, thus putting at risk many people during his trip and stay in the city."

"Such actions, if this was the case, would have put at risk numerous people during the trip to -- and stay in -- Valencia," added the statement.

"It should be remembered that this game was held behind closed doors amidst strict safety measures... to prevent the risk of COVID-19 contagion, precisely due to the presence of persons from an area already publicly classified as 'at risk'."

The return leg was played behind closed doors at Valencia's Mestalla stadium, as per the recommendations of the Spanish health authorities after 468 people had already died across Lombardy, the Italian region containing Bergamo and also Milan.

Atalanta, based in Bergamo, had travelled to Valencia with a 4-1 lead from the first leg, which was played in Milan's San Siro on February 19 in front of 44,236 fans. The match was later considered by health experts "a biological bomb."

Six days after the match, Valencia announced that more than a third of their playing and backroom staff had tested positive for the coronavirus, with all cases asymptomatic.

Information from Reuters was included in this report.