Thomas Tuchel has revealed he apologised personally to Conor Gallagher for Chelsea blocking the England midfielder playing for Crystal Palace against the Blues in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final.
Palace made an official request for Chelsea loanee Gallagher to be given permission to play against his parent club in the last-four cup clash at Wembley.
Chelsea rejected Palace’s request due to the terms of his Selhurst Park loan, and while manager Tuchel insisted that was the correct decision he also admitted understanding the 22-year-old’s frustrations.
Asked if he could appreciate the frustration from Palace boss Patrick Vieira and Gallagher, Tuchel replied: “Yes. I had the chance to speak to Conor, and I could also see his frustration.
“We met some weeks ago, we met after the international break by coincidence, in a restaurant, and we had a chat, and the subject came up. And I apologised!
“Because I know how competitive he is and I know his character, I like him a lot and it was a pleasure to have him here in pre-season.
“We play to win the game, the rules were clear when we made the loan. I can totally understand the disappointment of Conor, but these were the rules when we made the loan and we don’t want to suffer from our rules.”
Gallagher has struck eight goals in all competitions in a fine campaign on loan at Palace that has also seen his elevation to Gareth Southgate’s full England side.
The Chelsea academy graduate is likely to push into the Blues’ first-team squad next season, and should be given the chance to state his case for that rise in pre-season.
Gallagher’s absence will prove a blow for Palace this weekend, but Chelsea always had the right to veto the request given their parent-club status.