Thomas Tuchel has revealed he explained to Conor Gallagher in person why Chelsea could not allow the on-loan Crystal Palace midfielder to play in their FA Cup semi-final.

Chelsea meet Palace in the last four of the competition at Wembley on Sunday, but breakout star Gallagher will be merely a spectator.

The England international belongs to Chelsea but is yet to make a senior appearance for the club, instead establishing himself as a top Premier League midfielder for Palace this season.

Gallagher has scored eight goals and provided five assists in all competitions in 2021-22, including two assists in four FA Cup matches prior to the semis.

That sort of form shows why Chelsea could not accommodate Palace's request to allow him to play this weekend. The Blues have won both matches against Palace in his absence this season, extending a winning run in the fixture to nine games.

"I had the chance to speak to Conor and I could also see his frustration," Tuchel said ahead of the match. "We met some weeks ago, after the international break, by coincidence in a restaurant.

"We had a chat, and the subject came up. I apologised, because I know how competitive he is, and I like him a lot. I know his character very well, and it was a pleasure to have him here in pre-season.

"This is the way it is. We play to win the game. The rules were clear when we made the loan.

"I can totally understand Patrick Vieira and the disappointment of Conor, but these were the rules when we made the loan, and we don't want to suffer from our rules."

 

Chelsea must still take on an England international brought through their academy, however, with Marc Guehi a permanent Palace signing last year.

Guehi, like Gallagher, has impressed at Palace, while Tino Livramento has been one of Southampton's star performers this season, but Tuchel explained their sales could not be reassessed with hindsight.

"It's a decision we took together. We are happy about these decisions," he said. "We cannot go back and reflect, because at the point where we took the decision it was the right thing to do, given the circumstances.

"It's very individual decisions. For Tino Livramento, for example, we had a plan and we preferred a loan, but he saw his future to go, and the situation was then better to agree to the sale.

"For Marc, it is a fantastic development. It's very hard or maybe even impossible to say if we had kept him he would be better or worse or the same. Maybe he needed exactly that, maybe he needed a change of environment, maybe he needed a different club, maybe he needed a bigger role, more minutes to develop your full potential.

"It just tells you over and over again that if you trust younger players and if you have a role for them, they can on a very regular level match your expectations or even over-perform.

"It's nice to see there are so many Chelsea players out there in every league. We are very well aware of it, and it's also nice to play against them and see them develop."

Chelsea still have academy graduates in their first team, with Mason Mount leading the way in terms of goal involvements (25 – 11 goals, 14 assists) this term.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (31), Reece James (30), Callum Hudson-Odoi (28) and Trevoh Chalobah (26) have each made more than 25 appearances for the Blues in 2021-22.

"We will always use as many academy players as possible," Tuchel said.

"Like I said many times before, it makes the club very special and makes every team in the world very special if you have the mix between world-class players, between big personalities from abroad, from outside the club, with the academy boys.

"I think it's very important also with the academy boys to match the level, to realise the level of commitment, of professionalism of players who come from other clubs, who bring the best of their cultures.

"It's very, very important for our youngsters to accept that mix and accept that challenge. Then it can be very special. This is what makes teams special, that there are players from the academy."

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira bemoaned Chelsea's decision to not allow loanee Conor Gallagher to feature in the FA Cup semi-final, claiming the midfielder will be "the only one who will lose".

Gallagher moved on a season-long loan from Chelsea to Selhurst Park at the start of the season and the midfielder has starred for the Eagles, who made the last four of the FA Cup with a 4-0 win over Everton.

The 22-year-old's performances also earned him his England debut in November and have led to suggestions he could fill a midfield void for Thomas Tuchel's side next campaign with N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho not getting any younger.

But Chelsea have refused Palace's request for special dispensation to allow Gallagher to play against his parent club in the FA Cup on April 17, with FA rules preventing loanees from featuring against the side they are contracted to.

Vieira was left bemused by the decision as he insisted Gallagher would be the only player punished by the refusal.

"It's not the best rule because the only one who will lose is Conor," the Frenchman said.

"There's a semi-final, it's a really exciting game about how you will manage yourself and prepare yourself to play that game, then there's playing that kind of game and the importance of it.

"It's an experience the player is missing and I'm disappointed for him. He has played all the games so far and if there's somebody who deserves to be in the semi-final, it's him because of his performances, so I'm disappointed he won't be able to play.

"The decision for Chelsea to send him on loan is to play these kinds of games. We have as a group an opportunity to play an important game and that game would have given him more confidence and belief. We could lose but for him to have been on the field is what he needs to keep developing himself.

"Since he has been with us, he has been fantastic and for him not to have a chance to get involved in that game, it is something frustrating for his development.

"I feel for him because he wanted to play in that game –every player would want to play in that game."

Vieira also believes the impact of the FA Cup last-four draw has been clear to see on Gallagher in training.

"The next day in training he was affected by that," he continued. "He knew straight away that it was a game that he would not have the chance to get involved in. We feel for him.

"He put his head back into training straight away. It will be more difficult when we enter the week of the game.

"It will be challenging for him, looking at the team, preparing himself and him not getting involved. That will be challenging for him."

Kylian Mbappe looks set to end one of the biggest transfer sagas of recent seasons by penning his deal with Real Madrid next week.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker will reportedly move to Santiago Bernabeu on a free transfer at the end of the season.

It will mark the end of a lengthy pursuit by Los Blancos, despite the Ligue 1 club's efforts to keep their star man.

 

TOP STORY - MADRID CLOSING IN ON MBAPPE

Mbappe will confirm his future in a matter of days by putting pen to paper on a contract with Real Madrid, claims Marca.

The France international was pursued by Los Blancos last year, but instead remained with Paris Saint-Germain to see out the rest of his contract.

That expires at the end of this campaign, and despite PSG's resistance, the forward will confirm his future at Santiago Bernabeu with a free move before the month is up.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City have locked a deal in place for the capture of Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to the Daily Mail. City look to have beaten off several European rivals for the Leeds-born Norway international, and are now set to discuss personal terms.

- Scotland international Kieran Tierney is set to be the subject of a move from Madrid, claims 90min. The Arsenal star has helped form the bedrock of a Gunners revival this term and his performances have not gone under-the-radar when it comes to Los Blancos and their interest.

- Antonio Conte is willing to consider an extension at Tottenham, providing the club can show that they have "vision", says the Guardian. The Italian has endured a topsy-turvy tenure so far in north London, but remains one of the most respected coaches in the game.

- Crystal Palace star Conor Gallagher is unsure where his future lies following his success on loan at Selhurst Park this season, according to ESPN. The Chelsea man is with the Eagles on a year-long deal, and has picked up England honours during his tenure.

- Atletico Madrid are thinking about a move for Barcelona's Sergi Roberto. According to Fichajes, the midfielder is frustrated at his lack of consistent game-time and LaLiga's champions could swoop for him.

When watching games from pretty much any league in the world, there is a reasonable chance one of the players featured will be described as "on loan from Chelsea".

Such is the volume of players the recent FIFA Club World Cup winners send out on loan each season, they have even had their own WhatsApp group to keep in touch, as revealed a few years ago by Patrick Bamford.

The Leeds striker, who was on loan at Crystal Palace from Chelsea at the time, said: "The loan department set it up and allowed people in. Sometimes it drains your battery when everyone is messaging each other."

It had been seen as a ploy for the London club to hoard players for several years before selling them on for a profit once they had established themselves, but in recent times, especially with youngsters who came through the youth ranks at Cobham, it seems the chance of a first-team appearance isn't as fanciful as it once was.

The likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Reece James went on to become regular first-teamers after successful loan spells elsewhere.

Conor Gallagher has been loaned out by Chelsea four times and is currently turning out for Palace, earning valuable Premier League minutes, just as he did last season at West Brom.

The 22-year-old is yet to make his first-team debut for the Blues, but in light of his performances for the Eagles, his long wait could potentially be over next season.

Ahead of Chelsea's trip to Selhurst Park to face Palace on Saturday, where Gallagher will be ineligible to play against his parent club, Stats Perform takes a look at whether he could indeed have a future at Stamford Bridge.

Little by little, Gallagher impresses Tuchel

Speaking in December, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel said: "We love Conor. We are convinced about him.

"We took the decision for Conor because when we looked at the midfield - Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, N'Golo Kante - he was considered number four in the group.

"Conor knew this all the way. An opportunity came up where he could clearly see more minutes and more responsibility."

Tuchel ended up signing Saul Niguez on loan from Atletico Madrid, but the Spaniard has failed to make an impact during his time in England.

Gallagher, meanwhile, has scored seven goals in 21 Premier League appearances this season, including braces against Everton and West Ham, as well as a goal and an assist in Palace's shock 2-0 win at Manchester City in October.

It has been a lengthy journey already for the player, though, having been loaned to Charlton Athletic in 2019.

He impressed so much that Chelsea cut his loan short in the January window as, despite Gallagher's performances, Charlton were struggling in the Championship and he was instead sent to Swansea City, who were challenging for promotion.

Although he failed to score during his time in Wales, he still impressed then Swans manager Steve Cooper – who had managed England's U17s to World Cup glory in 2017 – as he grabbed five assists in his first nine games at the Liberty Stadium.

The next logical move was the Premier League, and Gallagher was loaned to West Brom for the 2020-21 campaign, where he made 32 appearances in all competitions, before heading to Selhurst Park for another season of top-flight football.

Although he performed well at West Brom, Gallagher has undoubtedly stepped up a gear under the tutelage of Palace's Patrick Vieira, and even earned his first senior England cap when he came on as a substitute in the 10-0 thrashing of San Marino in November.

It has not just been a case of him looking good among his team-mates at Palace. Gallagher actually stacks up well against most Premier League midfielders.

Only Arsenal's Emile Smith-Rowe and Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United (eight) have scored more this season than Gallagher's seven, while only Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan has a higher expected goals rate (6.22) than Gallagher's 5.47, which is based on the quality of the chances for a player.

Like Mason, can Gallagher mount a challenge at Chelsea?

It is hard to ignore the fact that Gallagher's improvement this season has come under a manager who was one of the best midfielders in the world during his playing days in Vieira, much like Mount grew significantly while working under Frank Lampard both at Derby County and Chelsea.

Mount's is clearly the path that Gallagher should aim to tread. From being a promising youngster out on loan, he became an integral part of a European and world championship winning side.

Gallagher can take heart from the fact that Tuchel has already expressed his admiration, and the German has been happy to continue to give young players chances where he can, but it remains a place that Gallagher will have to earn.

Compared to Chelsea midfielders who have played more than five games this season, Gallagher measures well on chance creation, with only Mount (2.13) creating more per 90 minutes than his 1.61.

In terms of profile, Gallagher is certainly more in the mould of a Mount than any other of Chelsea's current midfielders. Both look to get forward whenever possible, and have more touches in the opposition box per 90 than any of the Blues' other options (Mount = 5.21, Gallagher = 3.07).

They also both have significantly more penalty box entries per 90 than any other Chelsea midfielder with over five Premier League appearances this term (Mount = 7.78, Gallagher = 5.22), with the next highest being Kante with 2.72, and a higher xG excluding penalties per 90 (Mount = 0.24, Gallagher = 0.27), with the next highest being Loftus-Cheek with 0.14.

The issue with Gallagher being so similar to Mount is that he'd likely find himself being in an either/or situation. Tuchel prefers to have two controlling players in his midfield three, usually two of Jorginho, Kante and Kovacic, so it seems unlikely he'd start Mount and Gallagher together very often.

It therefore seems like, should Tuchel indeed look to utilise him at Stamford Bridge next year, it will be Ross Barkley's place in the squad that Gallagher slots into, and the former Everton man has only made four starts in all competitions this season, two of which came in the EFL Cup.

The question then becomes one of whether Gallagher is happy with that role after two seasons of regular football in the Premier League and with an England spot to fight for ahead of the World Cup in November.

For the time being, it is not something that the player needs to focus on too much. He can simply enjoy the game time he is getting in south London and try to perform to the sort of levels that will give Tuchel a decision to make when planning for next season.

Thomas Tuchel has hailed Jorginho's personality and character as he backed the Chelsea star to recover from a frustrating international break.

Jorginho missed a penalty as Italy drew with Switzerland, a result that left the European champions in need of a victory against Northern Ireland to ensure their spot at Qatar 2022.

However, the Azzurri – who missed out on Russia 2018 after a play-off defeat to Sweden – must now win two more games in March to book their spot at next year's World Cup, after they were held to a goalless draw in Belfast and Switzerland thrashed Bulgaria 4-0.

Jorginho has had a stellar year, helping Chelsea to Champions League glory before winning Euro 2020 with Italy. His efforts saw him named UEFA's Men's Player of the Year in August, while he has also been nominated for this year's Ballon d'Or.

Yet after having scored each of the first six penalties taken for Italy, Jorginho has failed his last three (including in shoot-outs, with the midfielder having squandered spot-kicks against both Switzerland and England at Euro 2020).

Jorginho played 68 minutes of Monday's clash at Windsor Park. Only four Italy players – all defenders – completed more passes than his 53, with 38 of these coming in Northern Ireland's half, while he made more interceptions than any of his team-mates (three).

"If there's a guy to handle this disappointment, it's Jorgi," Tuchel told a news conference.

"I fully trust his personality, his character. For me the most important thing is that when he arrives here he feels safe in Cobham, that he knows that everybody will support him, no matter what happens outside this building, he is our player, he is fully protected and fully appreciated.

"We are super happy that he's back. These things happen during a career, he is not the first one to miss an important penalty and will not be the last one.

"He has enough character, enough difficulties in his career if you know the story, like how he made it to professional football, what obstacles he had to overcome, this is a bump on the road and no more.

"We will do everything so that he feels good and can continue to play on the highest level like he did from day one."

While Jorginho endured a disappointing international break, another Chelsea midfielder enjoyed a first senior call-up.

Having impressed on loan at Crystal Palace so far this season, scoring four league goals, Conor Gallagher was handed his England debut in a 10-0 win over San Marino.

Gallagher, who spent last season on loan at West Brom, only signed a five-year deal at Chelsea in 2020, though Tuchel was asked about plans for the midfielder's future.

"This is too early to talk about it, way too early in public, before we talk with Conor and see his goals and what he wants," he replied.

"This will happen [at the end of the season] because we all agreed it was the best step to join Palace and Patrick Vieira.

"I am not surprised that the national coach loves him because I loved him from day one, there cannot be a coach who does not love guys like this."

Of the possibility of recalling Gallagher in January, Tuchel said: "I have not thought to bring him back earlier, it is important for him to be happy where he is and for him to stay in the moment.

"It's important to be calm at this stage of his career. I don't think it's necessary to change again in January."

Leaders Chelsea play away to Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday.

Crystal Palace earned a stunning 2-0 win at Manchester City as Wilfried Zaha and Conor Gallagher spoiled the party in Pep Guardiola's 200th Premier League game.

City suffered a first home league defeat of the season and had Aymeric Laporte sent off, the defender having earlier committed the error that gifted Zaha his sixth-minute opening goal - his 50th in the league for Palace.

Spain international Laporte struggled to deal with the Eagles' star forward and was caught out again in first-half stoppage time, denying Zaha a goalscoring opportunity as the last man with a clumsy challenge and being shown a red card.

Gallagher put the result beyond doubt with two minutes of normal time left to play, emphatically finishing off a counter-attack after good work from Zaha and Michael Olise.

Zaha gave Palace a shock early lead as Gallagher caught Laporte on the ball at the back before finding the Ivory Coast forward, who scuffed a low shot beyond Ederson and into the bottom-right corner.

City struggled to find their rhythm for most of the first half and Laporte's afternoon went from bad to worse just before the break as the centre-back was shown a straight red card for hauling Zaha down as the Eagles forward was set to go clean through on goal.

The hosts thought they had drawn level on the hour mark as substitute John Stones – a minute after his introduction – picked out Phil Foden with a terrific raking pass and the 21-year-old clipped a ball to the back post where Jesus squeezed home from a tight angle, but the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside after a VAR check.

City pushed for an equaliser in the remaining half-hour, but Palace remained resolute and stung the hosts in the 88th minute. Zaha held the ball in the box before squaring to Olise, who laid it off for Gallagher with one touch, allowing the midfielder to thump into the top-right corner and ensure Guardiola's landmark game ended with the Spanish boss empty-handed for once.

Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher has joined London rivals Crystal Palace on a season-long loan deal.

Gallagher will spend a second season on loan in the Premier League, having made 32 appearances for West Brom last term.

The 21-year-old, who is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Blues, will link-up with former Chelsea team-mate Marc Guehi, who made a permanent move to Selhurst Park earlier in July, in a new era for the Eagles under Patrick Vieira.

Gallagher said: "I'm buzzing to be here. I can't wait to get started, I'm happy to get the deal over the line.

"I spoke to the manager, I liked what he said, I liked how he wants to play, how he wants me to play and how he wants the team to play. I feel like I can learn from him and the players around me."

Gallagher, an England Under-21 international, has also spent time on loan at Charlton Athletic and Swansea City and becomes Palace's fifth new signing.

Palace chairman Steve Parish, who has already brought in Guehi, Michael Olise, Remi Matthews and Joachim Andersen, expressed his excitement over Gallagher's arrival.

"I am delighted Conor has chosen to come to Crystal Palace on a season-long loan after some impressive performances in the Premier League last season," Parish said.

"We very much look forward to him joining the squad as we continue to build towards the new season."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.