Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has said that he ‘cannot say’ when Paul Pogba will return to the squad from injury following a friendly victory over Premier League side Arsenal. He also discussed former club president Andrea Agnelli.
The coach has had a tumultuous few weeks with the resignation of the Juventus board and the delay in getting Pogba back from the injury he suffered during pre-season. He will have been pleased, then to beat Premier League leaders Arsenal 2-0 in a friendly on Saturday evening at the Emirates Stadium.
Allegri had to field a depleted side hit by World Cup absentees and long-term injuries, meaning plenty of players from the NextGen side got minutes. There was an own goal from Granit Xhaka and then the win was secured by Samuel Iling-Junior.
Allegri discusses Pogba, Chiesa and Bonucci
After the victory in London, Allegri spoke to Sky Sport Italia (with quotes relayed by Football Italia) and offered updates, of sorts, on a number of high-profile players in the squad.
Paul Pogba has been out injured for the entire season so far and despite seeming as though he should have recovered, Allegri appeared none the wiser about when the Frenchman will make his second competitive debut for Juventus.
“Paul still hasn’t been consistent in training, so I cannot say when he’ll be back. This is the truth and it’s important to say that, otherwise every day we’ll get these questions on how Pogba’s recovery is going. He hasn’t yet started running in training,” Allegri said.
Federico Chiesa is another long-term absentee but he did make a fleeting return before the break for the World Cup. He then suffered a slight setback, but Allegri was much more sure about the Italian’s full return to the Bianconeri squad.
“Chiesa had a muscular issue, but that’s normal when stepping up the intensity after such a long injury lay-off and we preferred not to risk him. He’ll be ready for December 27,” the coach said.
An update was also issued on other injured stars such as Leonardo Bonucci, as well as those who have been or are still at the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
“Bonucci won’t be out for long, Juan Cuadrado will only be available after the Cremonese game and Mattia De Sciglio should be back from December 27 onwards. That is also when Danilo and Alex Sandro arrive, while [Adrien] Rabiot and the Argentineans will have a few more days to rest, as they are in the World Cup final,” he said.
Allegri discusses Juventus’ legal difficulties
It has not been an easy time to be the Juventus coach with the resignation of the board and all of the various legal difficulties that hang over the club. There is also a transfer window and the return of Serie A to contend with.
Allegri stressed that he and the players just need to focus on the sporting side of the operation, saying: “The sporting aspect has never changed, so we just have to focus on training and winning games,” assured Allegri. “The rest is up to the club, as always. Juventus are one of the most important clubs in the world, there are 120 years of history here and that will continue.”
He was also asked if he needs a psychologist to deal with this period, which led him to discuss former president Andrea Agnelli.
“Of course not. It’s sad that the president is no longer here, because I have great affection for him, but all it does is put more responsibility on our shoulders and we need even more effort to win the games,” Allegri said.