Pogba must be 'available'

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri says it is pleasing Paul Pogba is ‘available’ after disappointing season blighted by injury… but insists midfielder needs more minutes to return to his best for season run-in

  • Paul Pogba has endured a disastrous season blighted by various injury problems
  • Midfielder has returned to the pitch for Juventus as he looks to rebuild fitness
  • Massimiliano Allegri insisted that he needs game time to return to his best

Paul Pogba must keep on building up his playing minutes to ensure he returns to his best, insisted Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri. 

The France international, 30, made aa return to Turin last summer on a free transfer from Manchester United, six years on from having left the club.

Pogba tore the meniscus in his knee during a pre-season tour of America and was eventually forced to agree to an operation to repair the injury after alternative therapies failed to help. 

However, the surgery ensured he faced an extended spell on the sidelines, with Pogba having only made a handful of appearances for the club under manager Allegri this season.

Pogba missed the World Cup, while his continued absence throughout a tumultuous early to mid season period for his club side began to draw significant ire from the Bianconeri supporters.

Paul Pogba needs further game time to return to his best, his Juventus manager has insisted

Massimiliano Allegri hailed the return of his midfielder – saying that the most important thing now was for him to remain available

Speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Cremonese, Allegri hailed the return of the Frenchman, but urged patience over him getting back to his towering best. 

‘He is improving, he played well for 25 minutes,’ Allegri said. ‘He needs to play more games to get back in shape, he can be decisive in the final third and we’ve often spoken about it. 

‘The most important thing now is that he’s available. With games every three days, it’s difficult to recover and play an entire match.’

Meanwhile, Juventus needed a last minute equaliser to draw level with Sevilla in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final.

Youssef En-Nesyri had given Sevilla the lead just 26 minutes in and the Spanish side looked to hold on for an impressive first leg victory, before Federico Gatti popped up in the seventh minute of injury time to equalise for Juventus.

Juventus have experienced an uptick in fortunes in recent weeks, with the return of Pogba one of a number of positives the club has experienced in recent weeks.

The – albeit perhaps brief – overturning of their 15-point penalty fired them back into the top four, where they remain, trailing only already-crowned Napoli.

‘We’re in an excellent mood, even more after the goal against Sevilla,’ Allegri said. 

Juventus were boosted by a late equaliser courtesy of Federico Gatti against Sevilla in the week

‘We must remain in the top four in Serie A and defend the second place. We’ve fulfilled our duties on the pitch, what happens outside should not concern us.’

With his future very much up in the air after a season mired in scandal, Allegri insisted his focus was on the task at hand: securing a top four finish for his side and success in the Europa League.

‘For now, we need to get to June 4 in the best conditions, trying to reach the Europa League Final and remain in the top four in Serie A,’ added Allegri.

‘Other decisions are up to the club, the future, the sporting director and the players.’

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