Friday June 10 2016
Pogba: ‘I learned from Pirlo’

Paul Pogba admits he learned from Juventus teammate Andrea Pirlo - “he had that composure”.

The Italian spent three seasons with Pogba in Turin, before leaving last summer to join MLS side New York City FC.

“During a match, it’s important to remain consistent,” Pogba told L’Équipe.

“That’s the case with the best players. I’m thinking, for example, of Andrea Pirlo. He stayed at the top so long because he had that consistency.

“He’s a player I watched a lot. He was almost too comfortable, too confident. In the 88th-minute of a highly-charged match, he had that composure.

“He’d give you a key pass or strike it in beautifully from distance. He always knew the right thing to do, always something great. He had such inner confidence.

“Every player has his own personality. I’m a player who tries a lot. If I get something wrong, I’ll try again. Maybe Pirlo played a little simpler, whereas I play hard from the first minute to the last.

“Other role models? I look at every player - dribblers, goalscorers… There’s Yaya Toure and Abou Diaby, who are big but also technical on the ball and score goals.

“I also like Andres Iniesta, and I try to watch players like [Claude] Makelele. Anything I can take from a player, I take.”

Juventus retained the Scudetto this season, despite a poor start, and Pogba was asked about his own improvement.

“It was a marthon! It’s true that we started badly, collectively. When things are going wrong with the group, it’s hard for a player to stand out.

“Then as we slowly started to find our stride, I started to score. Around November, December I started to feel better physically.”

Finally, the midfielder was asked whether his Bianconeri Coaches, Antonio Conte then Max Allegri, have been hard on him.

“I’ve always had Coaches who pushed me to do better,” Pogba noted.

“It’s true that sometimes I’ll relax, that’s how it is. Then there are these Coaches who re-motivate you, give you a slap round the back of the head, and yes, that wakes me up.

“I have always been asked to play simple. Always! At first I was a striker, then an attacking midfielder and then a defensive midfielder.

“Each time I was told to release the ball more quickly, play it more simple.

“Did it work? Yes, yes it worked. Little by little, I’ve changed. Before, even if I was further up the pitch I held on to the ball a lot more.

“Keeping the ball is good, when you’re young you like, you get to make more dribbles. Ok, if you go on your own and you score, no-one can fault you.

“But if you don’t help the team it’s useless. At a high level, it’s about being effective. And it’s true, already I want the ball less…

“Maybe people think I play to the public or the people in the stadium, but I don’t, I play for me. I’ve always liked tricks, but they’re not enough on their own.”

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