Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba is set to make his long-awaited return to the pitch in the Serie A clash against Torino on Tuesday after recovering from a number of injuries, manager Massimiliano Allegri revealed on Wednesday.
The France international had an operation on a damaged meniscus in September and also missed the World Cup in Qatar with the national team.
The only time Pogba has been part of the squad this season was as an unused substitute in the 2-0 loss against Monza on January 29.
‘Pogba will be called up for the derby and will play if necessary. He doesn’t have much playing time in his legs, but more than enough,’ Allegri told reporters.
‘I have spoken to him as I have done with the other players. He must understand that we’re at an important stage of the season. He must have the drive to have given his contribution at the end of the season.’
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Allegri added that forward Federico Chiesa, who has been on and off with injuries this season, is also back in regular training after missing recent games.
‘Yesterday, Chiesa trained with the team after six so-so days. Now to say that Pogba can be a starter after 315 days on the sidelines or likewise, Chiesa, who has been out for 10 months, is another thing. A little patience is needed,’ Allegri said.
‘(Leonardo) Bonucci is fine, but due to his long period of inactivity, he’ll be sitting close to me at kick-off tomorrow evening. But having him back is already an important plus, he is the club captain after all.’
Africa Today News, New York reports that Allegri’s side are eighth in the standings on 32 points, one above city rivals Torino ahead of the home clash, and will aim to expand their winning streak to four league matches.
‘Torino are a team moulded by coach (Ivan) Juric, teams that have a very specific playing system.’
They attack a lot, they pile on a lot of pressure. These matches are very intense but we’ve done well at immersing ourselves in these kinds of challenges. If we think we can play on our tiptoes, we’re done for,’ Allegri said.
Juve were deducted 15 points for the current season by an Italian soccer court investigating the club’s transfer dealings in January. Still, Allegri said that the season’s main goal has not changed.