Newcastle United explain Sandro Tonali withdrawal v AC Milan after recent injury

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Sandro Tonali made his return to AC Milan just two months after leaving to join Newcastle United.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe says Sandro Tonali can be ‘very proud’ of his emotional return to AC Milan.

The Italian was back at the San Siro just over two months after leaving to join the Magpies in a £52million deal. Tonali started last night’s Champions League Group F opener and was given a roaring reception from the Milan Ultras.

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The 23-year-old played 72 minutes as he and his teammates claimed a point - helped by a heroic display from Nick Pope, who made nine saves across the evening.

Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Howe revealed he withdrew Tonali with the player’s recent injury in mind. Indeed, Tonali picked up a thigh issue on international duty with Italy last week and missed the weekend victory over Brentford before being passed fit versus Milan.

“I thought Sandro did well,” said Howe. “Obviously emotional occasion for him. How he felt before the game was unique to him, I don’t think anyone could have described how he would have felt going into the game but he was part of a good defensive display from us in the first half.

“He can be very pleased and very proud. He represented himself very well and I know there’s more to come from him. Of course, we had to manage him with his recent injury towards the end of the game.”

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Speaking about his return, Tonali told the Italian media: “I will bring this embrace of San Siro with me for a very long time.

“It was something I will remember forever. You expect it to be wonderful, but when you are there, it’s different. The day of the game passed by so quickly, but I tried to enjoy every single minute.

“I cannot disguise my passion for Milan. I didn’t disguise it when I was at Brescia, nor playing for Milan and I won’t now that I am at Newcastle.

“It would not be possible or desirable to hide this passion.”

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