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‘We knew the quality’

‘We knew the quality’

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola admitted it is his “responsibility” that Cole Palmer left for Chelsea in the summer and said isn’t surprised to see the young English forward faring so well in London.

Palmer came through the City academy and was a highly rated prospect but left Manchester in a deadline day deal worth up to £42.5 million.

He has been one of the few bright sparks for Chelsea this season under Mauricio Pochettino, scoring 10 goals and recording six assists in 21 Premier League appearances.

His departure from the Etihad in the summer raised some eyebrows and Guardiola was asked about it ahead of his side’s clash with Chelsea on Saturday.

“After two or three seasons he wanted more minutes than the last season. I understand completely,” Guardiola said.

“If Palmer had the minutes I gave to Phil [Foden] from the beginning, Cole Palmer would be here – but I didn’t give them to him. That is my responsibility.

“Why? Because of Bernardo [Silva], Riyad [Mahrez], Phil. In that moment, I chose the other ones.”

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He added: “We knew the quality he has and the impact he has shown this season is enormous.

“It is not just goals and assists, it is the quality. He is an incredible threat for Chelsea. In the future you will not forget. It looks easy, but it’s not.”

Palmer scored in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge to make it 4-4 and claim a share of the spoils and could yet dent his former club’s hopes of landing an unprecedented fourth Premier League title in a row.

Whatever happens, Guardiola insists he is “happy” to see Palmer thriving, even if it is at one of City’s rivals.

“For young players, we always want them to stay but this is normal,” Guardiola continued. “After one season it is nice, and the second season, but the third season it is, ‘Oh guys, I want to play, I don’t want to sit on the bench’.

“We understand as a club. We got an offer from an incredible top club like Chelsea and I’m really happy for him. In all clubs these types of things happen.”

As for whether Palmer has a point to prove against City, Pochettino insisted the 21-year-old doesn’t need any extra motivation to perform.

“He’s not this type of player that needs to prove nothing,” Pochettino said. “He is very grateful for his period at Manchester City.

“He left the club because he wanted to find another challenge or have the possibility to play more.

“Yes, here he is very lucky because he is playing a lot of games here. He is going to be there, trying to play and to perform for him and his team.”

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