Thomas Tuchel defended two recent Chelsea sales that could come back to bite, and admitted he’s already apologised to Conor Gallagher ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final clash with Crystal Palace.
Chelsea have no time to dwell on their heart-breaking Champions League exit with an FA Cup semi-final clash now coming over the horizon. The Blues released their grip on the Champions League trophy when narrowly falling to Real Madrid in midweek.
The Blues performed admirably, winning 3-2 on the night. However, the mistakes of the first leg came back to bite with Real advancing 5-4 on aggregate.
Crystal Palace now await at Wembley on Sunday with the FA Cup Chelsea’s last chance of silverware this season.
Lining up against them will be impressive centre-half Marc Guehi who Chelsea sold to the Eagles last summer.
Guehi was one of a number of young stars Chelsea moved on. Both he and right-back Valentino Livramento at Southampton have taken great strides forward this season.
Guehi has already thrust himself into contention for the World Cup and made his senior England debut in the last international break.
His sale is beginning to look increasingly unwise with doubts remaining over the futures of Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.
Tuchel suggests Guehi, Livramento have over-performed
However, speaking in his Friday press conference, Tuchel defended the decision to sell Guehi and Livramento.
“It’s a decision we took together and we are happy with these decisions,” said Tuchel (via Football London).
“I am happy with these decisions and it was the right thing to do given the circumstances. With Tino Livramento, we had a plan and we preferred a loan. He preferred to go and then it’s better to agree to the sale.
“For Marc, it’s a fantastic development and it’s very hard to know if we kept him what would’ve happened.
“Maybe he needed a change, a different club, a bigger role, more minutes to develop his full potential.
“It just tells you over and over again that if you trust younger players, have a role for them, they can on a regular level match your expectations and even over-perform.”
Palace will be without their driving force on Sunday with Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher banned from playing.
Palace had reportedly lodged a request to allow Gallagher to feature in what would arguably be the biggest club match of his career to date.
However, Chelsea responded with their head, not heart, when denying the request.
Tuchel acknowledged Gallagher’s frustration at the call, and admitted he’s already apologised to the midfield livewire.
“I had the chance to speak to Conor and I could see his frustration,” added Tuchel.
“We met some weeks ago, after the international break, we ran into each other by coincidence and we had a chat and I apologised because I know how competitive he is.
“It’s the way it is. We play to win the game and the rules were clear when we made the loan. I can understand the disappointment of Conor.”