Tuchel apologises to Gallagher after Chelsea reject Crystal Palace's FA Cup request

On-loan midfielder will not play against his parent club at Wembley on Sunday

Conor Gallagher has impressed for Crystal Palace on loan from Chelsea this season but will not feature in the FA Cup semi-final. Reuters
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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has said he has personally apologised to midfielder Conor Gallagher after refusing Crystal Palace's request to field the midfielder against his parent club in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final.

Gallagher is on loan at Palace from Chelsea this season and has been one of the club's standout players. Palace made an official request for Gallagher to be given permission to play at Wembley, but Chelsea rejected the appeal due to the terms of his Selhurst Park loan.

While Tuchel said it was the correct decision, he also admitted understanding the 22-year-old midfielder's disappointment.

"I had the chance to speak to Conor, and I could also see his frustration," said the German. "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."

Gallagher has scored eight goals in all competitions in a fine campaign with Patrick Vieira's Palace and has also made his England debut, playing a starring role in a friendly win over Switzerland last month.

Chelsea will aim to bounce back from their dramatic Champions League quarter-final exit to Real Madrid on Tuesday, when the holders claimed a 3-2 win after extra time but were ultimately defeated 5-4 on aggregate, leaving the FA Cup as the Blues' sole chance for further silverware this season after they won the Club World Cup in February.

Tuchel said his players can lift themselves after their midweek Madrid disappointment.

"I think we are all a bit in between," he said. "In part it gives confidence a huge boost, but it's still a disappointment to go out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage."

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