Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said he apologized to Conor Gallagher for not allowing the on-loan midfielder to play for Crystal Palace against his parent club in Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal.
The 22-year-old has been one of Premier League’s breakthrough stars this season — registering eight goals and five assists — but will be in the stands at Wembley this weekend after the Blues rejected a request from Palace to give them special dispensation so he could take part.
Eagles boss Patrick Vieira described that decision as “something frustrating for Conor’s development” and that “the only one who will lose is Conor.”
Asked if he had contacted Gallagher directly, Tuchel said at a news conference on Friday: “I had the chance to speak to Connor and I could also see his frustration. We met some weeks ago, I think after the national break, by coincidence in a restaurant and we had a chat.
“The subject came up and I apologized because I know how competitive he is. I like him a lot, I know his character very well. It was a pleasure to have him here in preseason and this is the way it is.
“We play to win the game and the rules were clear when we made the loan. I can totally understand Patrick Vieira and also the disappointment of Conor of course but these were the rules when we made the loan and we don’t want to suffer from our rules.”