Allegri ready to welcome Pogba back after serving punishment

By Sports Desk March 11, 2023

Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed Paul Pogba is part of his plans for Sunday's Serie A match against Sampdoria after being dropped in midweek for disciplinary reasons.

Pogba was left out of Juve's squad for their 1-0 Europa League last-16 first-leg win over Freiburg on Thursday after turning up late for a team meeting on the eve of the game.

However, having served his punishment, the 29-year-old will be back involved against Samp as Juve seek a return to winning ways in the league after losing 1-0 to Roma.

"Paul is available," Allegri said at Saturday's pre-match press conference. "Because he was late once, it doesn't mean we must keep punishing him."

Pogba has suffered multiple injury issues since rejoining Juve from Manchester United last July, restricting him to just 34 minutes on the field across two substitute appearances.

Asked if the France international is in line for his long-awaited second full debut for the Bianconeri on Sunday, Allegri gave little away.

"I haven't decided on the formation yet. There are only two players I know are definitely playing: [Mattia] Perin and [Dusan] Vlahovic."

 

Vlahovic has failed to find the net in his past four Serie A games, all as a starter – never before has he gone five in a row without scoring in the competition as a starter.

The Serbia international has also spent a prolonged period on the sidelines this season, but Allegri considers the forward back to full fitness.

"Dusan has completely recovered," Allegri said. "I know he's our only striker for tomorrow. I'm happy with his performance [against Freiburg] and now he's physically much better.

"I'm confident in him. All players go through moments like this in their career, especially strikers who are judged on goals."

Juve's loss to Roma last time out ended a four-game winning run in the Italian top flight, but a home match against bottom side Sampdoria provides a chance to respond.

The Bianconeri have won their past seven home league meetings against Sampdoria, who have won just two of their 25 Serie A matches this season.

"To many it may seem like an easy game, but going by Sampdoria's recent results, that can be deceiving," Allegri said. "They lost late on against Lazio and drew with Salernitana.

"It's important the team understands the importance of the match and that it must be faced with our full attention."

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