Pobega discusses return to Torino, adapting to Milan and working with Juric and Pioli

By Oliver Fisher -

Sunday’s game against Torino will carry some extra meaning for Tommaso Pobega as he returns to face off against a team he spent last season with.

After spells with Ternana, Pordenone and Spezia, Milan sent Pobega out on loan to Torino for the 2021-22 season to continue his development under Ivan Juric, and he played in a number of different positions becoming a key component in the starting XI.

Now though he is back at base and he has entered Stefano Pioli’s plans, with a memorable moment coming during the Champions League win at home against Dinamo Zagreb as he scored his first ever goal for the club.

Interviewed by Tuttosport, Pobega spoke about his time with Torino and how that has helped to prepare him for being a fully fledged Milan player this time, with his comments relayed by our colleagues at SempreMilan.it.

“I understood that I would stay at the end of the summer talking with the managers and the coach. We got together right away because I wanted to stay and they wanted to keep me. Being at Milan is a further starting point, a new stage in my career: every year I have always raised the bar and it is the same now that I am here,” he said.

On his childhood: “As a child I played soccer and basketball, but my friends all played soccer and so I chose that, giving up basketball. I like basketball a lot, my brother Sebastiano plays it, but I don’t know if I would have turned professional.

“When I arrived at Milan at the age of 14, the connection people made was always the same, I from Trieste like Rocco and Maldini. My city is very linked to Milan, they are myths who have made the history of football and have brought the name of Trieste up in Italy and in the world and so there is always a thread that unites these two realities, my Trieste and then my Milan.”

On his growth: “Compared to other team-mates, I was not ripe for such an important leap after the Primavera and it was crucial for me to be able to grow without the pressures experienced here at Milan. I managed to improve year after year and I deserved this opportunity, which came at the right time.”

On working under Gattuso: “He was the first coach and he did not treat me as a child and a young boy, but as an adult, making me understand that I had to start taking on responsibilities.”

On his experience with Juric at Torino: “He made me understand that I had to play face to face with everyone, to be more brazen and enterprising.

“I felt comfortable with the Granata, I knew the staff well, so the return could have been a hypothesis. I still speak with Buongiorno and Gemello about them, but also with Ricci and Pellegri who, for reasons of age, have also been my team-mates in the various national youth teams.”

On his relationship with Pioli: “He, day after day, is adding something thanks to his way of working completely different from the others. I also have to face the Champions League for the first time. At Milan you need to know how to set yourself a goal to reach every day.”

On playing against Torino: “Torino are healthy, after the victory in Udine, with the desire to win, to show that all the work they do leads to a result. Toro are a strong, gritty team, it will take maximum attention and concentration: it will be a game decided by incidents and we will have to bring them to our side. For sure Juric will have studied us a lot, he will have worked on our weak points, if he will have found them.”

On the Torino crowd: “Warm as ever. The fans are also pushed by a coach who asks the players for aggression and intensity and wants to fight on every ball.”

On whether he would celebrate if he scores: “I think so, because I believe it is always right to do it. With great respect to the Granata fans, also for how they supported me. But it is right to cheer for the fans of my current team.”

On playing lots of games in a short space: “There are both physical and mental complications because travel and matches tire at all levels, there is less time to prepare for the next match and knowing how to find the right stimuli for the current opponent every time. But it is right that it should be so at certain levels.”

On adapting to being at Milan: “I didn’t find any difficulties, also because I already knew many team-mates having done the summer training camps both in 2020 and in 2021. I obviously knew the environment, but also Pioli’s way of working, so everything came as a consequence. Rather, I would like to win the Scudetto too, also because it would mean a second star.”

On his studies and earning a degree: “The title is ‘Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR’ and I will look into Milan as a case study: after the first two general and introductory chapters, the work of Milan will be analysed, as they were among the first clubs to follow such a path, also with the Milan Foundation and its projects.”

Tags AC Milan Tommaso Pobega
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