Tuchel says he apologised to Conor Gallagher for Chelsea's decision ahead of FA Cup semifinal

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he had an opportunity to talk to Conor Gallagher about the club’s decision not to let him play for loan club Crystal Palace in Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal.

The Blues turned down Crystal Palace’s request to allow the 22-year-old a special dispensation to play at the weekend, and Patrick Vieira was understandably disappointed.

The Palace boss argued that to be able to play in these kind of games was the reason Chelsea sent Gallagher on loan in the first place.

Tuchel himself admitted that he could feel Gallagher’s disappointment when the two had a chat about the decision.

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“I had the chance to talk to Conor, and I could see his frustration,” the German said during Friday’s press conference about Chelsea’s rejecting Crystal Palace’s request to let the midfielder play in the FA Cup semifinal.

“We met some weeks ago after the international break by coincidence in a restaurant.

“We had a chat, then the subject came up, and I apologised because I know how competitive he is, and I like him a lot and know his character very well.

“It was a pleasure to have him in pre-season [last summer].

“Yea, it’s the way it is. We play to win the game, and the rules were clear when we made the loan [deal].

“I can totally understand Patrick Vieira and Conor’s disappointment, but these were the rules and we don’t want to suffer from the rules.”

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Crystal Palace obviously knew that this would be the case when they agreed to sign Gallagher on loan.

However, the England international has established himself as a key player at Selhurst Park, having already had eight goals and three assists in the Premier League this season, and his absence will be such a big disadvantage for Vieira’s men.

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A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.