Thomas Tuchel has revealed he has apologized to Conor Gallagher for the decision which would see him miss the FA Cup semi-final this weekend against his parent club Chelsea. Crystal Palace travel to Wembley Stadium aiming for a major upset on Sunday but the Eagles will have to do so without their midfield wonder, who is not eligible for the game.
Gallagher’s loan spell at Chelsea means he is banned from playing against the Blues in any competition this season.
That didn’t stop Palace from submitting a cheeky request to play Gallagher at Wembley, but it was quickly turned down by the European champions.
Now Tuchel has explained how he apologized to Gallagher after meeting the England international at a local restaurant while having dinner.
“I had the chance to speak to Conor. I could see his frustration. We met a few weeks ago by chance in a restaurant,” Tuchel said.
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“The subject was brought up, I apologized because I know how competitive he is. We are playing to win the game.”
Palace boss Patrick Vieira, who has managed to get the most out of Gallagher this season at Selhurst Park, was frustrated with Chelsea’s decision.
The Frenchman was confident that Chelsea would later reap the rewards of Gallagher gaining crucial experience playing in a game of this magnitude.
“It’s not the best rule because the only one who will lose is Conor,” Vieira said.
“To pay for this kind of match, the importance of it, is an experience that the player lacks and I am disappointed for him.
“He’s played every game so far and if there’s anyone who deserves to be in the semi-finals it’s him because of his performance. I’m disappointed he can’t play .”
It’s been quite a season for Gallagher since moving to Croydon after his loan spell with West Bromwich Albion last season.
He has scored eight times and assisted five goals in 32 outings in all competitions this season.
His talent also caught the eye of Gareth Southgate, who offered him his senior England debut in March against Switzerland.
Gallagher was named Man of the Match in the 2-1 win and is currently on course to make the Three Lions World Cup squad for Qatar.
Chelsea are set to keep Gallagher on his return to Cobham at the end of the season, although he is unlikely to lack interest.
Tuchel was reportedly hugely impressed with his pre-season contributions last summer.