Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has admitted he understands the frustrations of Crystal Palace and Conor Gallagher ahead of their FA Cup semi-final.
The Blues face Patrick Vieira’s side at Wembley on Sunday but the Eagles will be without star midfielder Gallagher, who is on loan from Stamford Bridge.
The England international has been in fine form so far this season for Palace but due to the terms in his loan contract, he is ineligible to face his parent club.
Palace had requested that the terms be altered to allow the midfielder chance to play, but the Blues rejected.
Speaking to the media ahead of the game, Tuchel admitted he understood the frustrations, but insisted the loan terms were made clear.
“I had the chance to speak to Conor and I could see his frustration. We met some weeks ago, after the international break, we ran into each other by coincidence and we had a chat and I apologise because I know how competitive he is,” said the German.
“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.”
Chelsea are likely to face another former Chelsea youngster in Marc Guehi, who left for Selhurst park on a permanent deal in the summer.
Guehi, also now an England international, has impressed under Vieira, but Tuchel has claimed he is happy with the decision to let the defender leave and the same with Tino Livramento’s move to Southampton.
“It’s a decision we took together and we are happy with these decisions. I am happy with these decisions and it was the right thing to do given the circumstances,” added Tuchel.
“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.”