Micah Richards hails Cole Palmer and identifies his best position at Chelsea | Football

Cole Palmer scored the only goal of the game in Chelsea’s win over Fulham (Picture: Getty)

Micah Richards showered Cole Palmer with praise after the youngster’s match-winning performance for Chelsea against local rivals Fulham in the Premier League, labelling him Mauricio Pochettino’s ‘main man’ this season.

Chelsea were looking for a statement performance in the wake of their disappointing Carabao Cup semi-final first leg defeat to Middlesbrough in midweek, but again found themselves frustrated for most of the first half at Stamford Bridge, wasting a host of inviting opportunities.

Conor Gallagher and Armando Broja both missed the target in quick succession before Raheem Sterling was brought down inside the penalty area by Issa Diop following an exquisite reverse pass from Palmer.

Palmer – a £40million summer signing from Manchester City – has so often been Chelsea’s shining light in his debut season at the club and the 21-year-old once again showed his mettle from the spot, slotting home to break the deadlock in the dying moments of the first half.

The hosts held on to secure a 1-0 win and and the result saw Pochettino’s men rise to eighth place in the table, while their London neighbours Fulham remained in 13th.

Palmer’s cool strike from 12 yards took his goal tally to nine for the campaign in the English top flight and ex-Manchester City and England defender Richards waxed lyrical about the attacking midfielder’s talents on Match of the Day.

‘Against Luton he scored two goals and got one assist and it was more from a central position,’ Richards said.

Cole Palmer scores a penalty for Chelsea against Fulham

Palmer sent Leno the wrong way with his spot-kick (Picture: Getty0

‘He started out on the right against Fulham and he was ineffective for the first 30 minutes. He didn’t really create anything for the first 30 minutes.

‘But what he did, what all intelligent players do, is to find a way to get involved int he game.

‘We talked about Kevin De Bruyne getting into space and this time it’s Palmer. It’s really good.

‘What I like about him is he always wants to play forward.’

Richards raved about Palmer’s display on Match of the Day (Picture: BBC)

Asked about Palmer’s penalty on the stroke of half-time, Richards added: ‘He steps up, five in five penalties. He’s so cool isn’t he?

‘All the good players can deal with the ball in these tight situations. Even when he loses it.

‘When you’re in tight situations you need someone to be calm. He’s playing some of the best football.’

The Blues rose to eighth place with the victory (Picture: Getty)

Pochettino has experimented with Palmer in a number of positions following his arrival from the Etihad and Richards believes the England international is best suited to the No.10 role.

‘His best position is definitely No.10,’ Richards went on.

‘Look at how important he is! Nine goals and four assists.

‘He’s just the main man of this team. He’s brilliant to watch.’

Pochettino’s side bounced back from their Carabao Cup loss to Boro (Picture: Getty)

Following Chelsea’s win, Pochettino cryptically revealed ‘something happened’ prior to kick-off that had a negative impact on his players’ preparations.

 ‘Well of course the first half wasn’t the first half that we thought or we planned,’ the Argentine told reporters at his post-match press conference.

‘Something happened before the game, but I’m not going to explain.

‘But I think that affected the team a little bit [in the first half]. But I think we started the second half really, really good. I think we played really good football, for 30 minutes we played really, really well and we should score another goal – or one or two – and kill the game.

‘But when the game is open like this, and you do not kill the game, always in the last few minutes we concede a few actions, set-pieces, wide free-kicks, corners and they have good potential in all these situations.

‘We defended well though and I think it was good for us to suffer a little bit at the end, but I think this type of game helps us grow and builds the confidence in the way that we are working.’

Asked if was able to elaborate on what exactly happened before the game, Pochettino replied: ‘No, no, no, nothing. I think I was… no, nothing. Nothing, nothing, sorry.’


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