Pep Guardiola explains decision to let Cole Palmer join Chelsea | Football

Cole Palmer has made an outstanding start to his Chelsea career (Picture: Getty)

Pep Guardiola accepts the responsibility for Manchester City’s failure to keep Cole Palmer.

The champions sold Palmer, one of their highly-rated academy prospects, to Chelsea last summer.

The 21-year-old, a member of City’s treble-winning squad last season, has shone since the switch and been the London club’s standout player this term.

Guardiola admits he did not give the youngster, who faces City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, the minutes he wanted and understands his reasons for moving.

The City manager said: ‘For young players, we always want them to stay but this is normal. After two or three seasons he wanted more minutes than he had the last season. I understand completely.

‘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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Cole Palmer scored Chelsea's equaliser in a 4-4 draw with Man City earlier this season

Cole Palmer scored Chelsea’s equaliser in a 4-4 draw with Man City earlier this season (Picture: Getty)

‘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’.

‘It’s normal. 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.’

Palmer scored Chelsea’s late equaliser against City from the penalty spot when the sides met at Stamford Bridge in November.

He is Chelsea’s leading scorer this season with 12 goals in all competitions and their top assist-maker with nine.

Guardiola said: ‘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.’

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