Atalanta’s Gasperini wins Serie A coach of the year award

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FLORENCE, Italy — Gian Piero Gasperini won Serie A’s coach of the year award on Monday after guiding Atalanta to a third-place finish last season and a spot in the Champions League for the first time in its history.

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Gasperini received 22 of 49 votes from other coaches for the Panchina d’Oro (Golden Bench) award for the 2018-19 season. Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic finished second with 13 votes and former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was third with six.

Allegri, who led Juventus to a record-extending eight straight Serie A title last season, had won the award in three of the previous four years.

“I’m very proud to have won such a prestigious award,” said the 62-year-old Gasperini, who won the award for the first time. “I share this award with my staff, players, president (Antonio) Percassi and all of Bergamo because it is down to everyone that we had such an extraordinary season like that of last year.

“I dedicate this award also to all coaches because we do a difficult job but we are among the privileged and we get great satisfaction when we get awards like these.”

Atalanta also got to the final of last season’s Italian Cup but lost to Lazio. The team lost its first three Champions League matches but qualified for the round of 16, where it will face Valencia.

Mihajlovic was given a special award. The 50-year-old Serb has continued to coach Bologna while being in and out of the hospital with leukemia.

“His example in facing his battle has given strength to those who are dealing with the same fight,” Bologna sporting director Riccardo Bigon said. “We have seen first-hand how important a coach is.”