Allegri to assess Pogba as Juventus gear up for Freiburg clash
Paul Pogba's fitness will be assessed ahead of Juventus' Europa League meeting with Freiburg on Thursday, with the midfielder still eyeing his first start since his Bianconeri return.
Pogba made his long-awaited second Juve debut in a 4-2 win over cross-city rivals Torino last month after enduring several injury setbacks since re-joining from Manchester United last July.
Having appeared from the bench in that fixture, the France international did likewise in Sunday's demoralising 1-0 defeat at Roma in Serie A.
Asked if Pogba could make his first start of the season when Juventus host Freiburg in the first leg of their last-16 tie, boss Massimiliano Allegri was hopeful but uncertain.
Allegri said: "Yesterday [Tuesday] he did a good workout, today [Wednesday] he was separate from the group. Tomorrow [Thursday] morning we'll understand if he can be available.
"He didn't work with the team [on Wednesday]. I think he will be available, but we'll see."
An Angel Di Maria hat-trick fired Juve past Nantes in the last round of the competition, delivering a 3-0 away win after the Bianconeri toiled to a 1-1 draw at home to the French side.
With Freiburg one of just three teams to go unbeaten in the Europa League's group stage this term (also Real Betis and Fenerbahce), Allegri is aware of the need for an improved home display.
"We want to lay the foundations for the second leg," he said. "They are physically strong, they are fifth in Germany, they are unbeaten in Europe.
"We have to go back to winning at home – in the Champions League and in the Europa League we only got one win [at the Allianz Stadium this season].
"So we'll need attention, otherwise we'll have to do the same as against Nantes. We have to win on Thursday, whether it's by one or two goals – it won't be easy, it will be balanced."
Juventus will be able to draw on the experience of Filip Kostic, a Europa League winner with Eintracht Frankfurt last season, and the Serbian says lifting Europe's secondary club trophy is now the team's foremost aim.
"I know the competition, I won it with Eintracht – it was our dream to win the Europa League. With Juventus it's different, the goals were different, but now we want to win it," Kostic said.
"They are a tough, compact, solid opponent. To win this Europa League – which is our main objective – we will have to overcome them. We want to get as far as possible and we go game by game."