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Man City v Chelsea: No point to prove for Palmer in FA Cup semi-final, says Pochettino

Cole Palmer does not have anything to prove when he faces his former club Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday, insists Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino.

After struggling for regular gametime at the Etihad Stadium, Palmer joined Chelsea in a £40million deal on transfer deadline day last September.

He has been an immediate hit at Stamford Bridge, taking on a talismanic role within a young Blues team in an up-and-down campaign.

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Palmer drew level with City striker Erling Haaland in the Premier League’s Golden Boot race on Monday, reaching 20 goals for the season by netting four times in a 6-0 rout of Everton.

He also scored on his first appearance against his former club last November, his stoppage-time penalty salvaging a point for Chelsea in a thrilling 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash at Wembley Stadium, Pochettino insisted Palmer is not motivated by revenge after struggling to make the grade at City.

“Cole Palmer is performing above expectations, in a very good way. His consistency is good, but he’s young, so we need to be careful,” Pochettino said on Friday.

“He needs to evolve and develop, but of course, the expectation is far away from maybe what we thought in the beginning.

“He’s played Manchester City twice in the league already. He understood perfectly that he needed to prove himself in another club.

“He’s not the kind of person that wants to prove a point. He talks so highly of Pep and his time at City.”

At his own pre-match press conference, City boss Pep Guardiola said he did everything he could to keep Palmer, but the 21-year-old’s heart was set on pursuing first-team football elsewhere.

“He is an exceptional player, we knew when he was here, but I said many times I didn’t give him the minutes he maybe deserved or the minutes he now has at Chelsea,” Guardiola said.

“I’m happy for him. He’s a lovely guy, a shy guy with an incredible potential. He’s an incredible threat, he’s playing fantastically.

“He was asking to leave for two seasons. I was saying, ‘no, stay, stay’. In the end, he said he wanted to leave, so what could we do?”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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