Thomas Tuchel says he and Chelsea are “convinced” Conor Gallagher will prove to be an asset to the club moving forward.
Following a mixed spell on loan at West Brom last season in the Premier League, the Blues decided to send him out on a temporary deal again with Crystal Palace.
Gallagher has contributed six goals and three assists in 16 Premier League matches for Palace so far this season.
And Tuchel reckons it was the best decision for everyone involved to allow the England international to move out of loan in the summer.
“We love Conor. We are convinced about him,” Tuchel said. “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.
“Would he be the same Conor if he had stayed here? Obviously not, because the situation will then be different.
“Maybe, then, the same people would say, ‘How can they rely on Conor Gallagher’?, or ‘Why don’t they give him more minutes’?
“If Mateo hadn’t been injured, it wouldn’t really matter. So, no, you cannot go back to these decisions that are made for the club and for the player. Everybody agreed on it.
“And it’s obviously a good decision because he is doing so well and everybody is happy. That’s because he plays every single game, and knows how important he is to the team at Crystal Palace. This is a huge part of being at the best level you can be.”
🔐 Most key passes in the Premier League this season:
1️⃣ Trent – 51
2️⃣ Bruno Fernandes – 45
3️⃣ M. Salah – 37
4️⃣ Jack Grealish – 30
5️⃣ A. Townsend – 30
6️⃣ Bukayo Saka – 30
7️⃣ Reece James – 30
8️⃣ Michail Antonio – 30
9️⃣ James WP – 29
🔟 Conor Gallagher – 29#ChristmasNumber1s
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 25, 2021
Speaking during the week, Chelsea loan manager Carlo Cudicini said he was pleased that Gallagher was enjoying his football at Selhurst Park.
“What’s important for Conor is to finish the season where he is. That’s why we’ve not put anything in place to recall him next month – it’s the same with Billy Gilmour,” Cudicini told Ladbrokes.
“I’ve said this many times in the past, but a loan isn’t necessarily only successful if you’re playing every single minute.
“Sometimes, especially at that age, you learn just as much when you’re not in the team.
“I think back to Conor last season at West Bromwich Albion where he had a difficult moment when the manager Slaven Bilic was replaced by Sam Allardyce.
“Conor missed a few games under Allardyce and I had to talk with him and remind him that he should take this as a positive moment, because he’s learning how to deal with these types of situations and managerial changes.
“You hope to play every minute of every game, but there will be a time where you spend some time on the bench, so why not start to deal with that part of the game now?
“With a player as talented as Conor, you’re always going to receive a lot of interest from a number of clubs, both from England and abroad.
“It was just a matter of understanding what the manager wants from him, and then it’s about picking the right club – and we feel Crystal Palace is exactly that.”