Italian Serie A

Conte quits struggling Atalanta

January 7, 2010

Atalanta coach Antonio Conte has resigned from his post in charge of the Serie A strugglers.

Antonio Conte
GettyImagesAntonio Conte: Resigned his post with Atalanta

The Nerazzurri slipped to a 2-0 home defeat against Napoli on Wednesday, sparking a wave of protests outside the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.

Conte tried to present his resignation on Wednesday night but it was rejected by the Atalanta directors.

However, the former Juventus captain announced on Thursday that he has become the second coach this season to leave the relegation-threatened team.

"This is right at this time," said Conte as he left Atalanta's training ground. "It's me who's decided to leave. I already presented my resignation last night, but I was rejected. Having reflected on it all night, I then decided to present it again.

"My regret is that I couldn't do all that I had in mind, but I leave a lively squad, very lively, with which I got 13 points, so it's not a disaster.

"Is it a black mark in my career? No, if anything the black mark is that what happened yesterday with the fans."

Atalanta are now looking for their third coach this campaign and their fourth in under a year.

Conte replaced Angelo Gregucci on September 21 after the former Vicenza coach, who had succeeded Luigi del Neri in June, lost his first four Serie A games in charge.

Atalanta have improved since then and indeed secured a notable draw against Inter Milan last month, but still lie 19th in the standings.

Fans protested throughout the match on Wednesday and there were fierce scenes afterwards as police protected Conte and his players who held discussions with angry supporters for around 20 minutes outside the stadium.