Pochettino Fires Back: Defending Chelsea’s Rising Star, Cole Palmer, Amidst Criticism
Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has responded to questions over Cole Palmer’s best position by insisting he simply wants him “on the pitch”.
Palmer has been Chelsea’s best player this season following a summer switch from Manchester City, scoring 11 goals and providing seven assists in 24 appearances across all competitions. During that time, Palmer has feature out wide, up front and as an attacking midfielder, prompting some debate over what role he is best suited to.
However, Pochettino is confident the 20-year-old can deliver for Chelsea no matter what position he is playing. When asked where he prefers to see Palmer, Pochettino responded: “I prefer him on the pitch at the moment!
“But be careful because after [reading this] he may feel he will [always] play! He is still young and needs to improve and to keep performing this way.”
Palmer led the line as Chelsea drew 0-0 with Aston Villa in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday and missed an excellent chance to win the game for the Blues. And when asked about his failure to score, Pochettino said: “No, I think he cannot score in every single game.
“If he did, we should maybe not call him Cole Palmer, we should call him maybe Leo [Messi]. No, it is not about his position – and his potential is massive. It’s just sometimes you score or not. Sometimes you have better nights but he is doing well.
“He is a player who can play in different positions and you can see and feel that we never talk about his performances because he is always doing really good. It’s just that sometimes he scores or doesn’t score, but he always finds amazing chances in the game.”
Pochettino has, however, previously compare Palmer to former Real Madrid, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus star Angel Di Maria, suggesting he feels the youngster is at his best out wide.
“In the position that he plays, and because he’s a left-footer and because he has some similarities and the quality, he’s a potential Angel Di Maria,” Pochettino told TNT Sports last month. “Angel is a world champion, he was in Paris [Saint-Germain] with us, and is an amazing player.
“He [Palmer] has the capacity and the potential to be close to him, with time. He’s still far away, but this type of player that can link, can be a playmaker, have the capacity to score, assist, it’s this type of player like Angel.
“But of course he’s performing really well from day one. He’s adapted very well to the club, to the team-mates, to Chelsea life, and yes it’s amazing, because always you expect the player can perform well, but he’s doing excellent.”