Soccer

Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea’s players know the value of Cole Palmer

The summer signing from Manchester City is top scorer at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s Cole Palmer celebrates scoring their side’s first goal of the game from the penalty spot during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: Saturday March 30, 2024.
Chelsea v Burnley – Premier League – Stamford Bridge Chelsea’s Cole Palmer celebrates scoring their side’s first goal of the game from the penalty spot during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: Saturday March 30, 2024. (Nigel French/PA)

Mauricio Pochettino admitted his Chelsea players are relying on Cole Palmer to get them out of trouble during games this season.

The summer signing from Manchester City is top scorer at Stamford Bridge after his two goals against Burnley on Saturday took him to 16 for the campaign.

His impact has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise tumultuous season for Pochettino and his team, who languish in the bottom half of the Premier League table after failing to overcome the league’s second-bottom side at home despite playing against 10 men for the entirety of the second half.

Palmer scored a first-half penalty to break the deadlock then, after Burnley had levelled via Josh Cullen’s volley, looked to have won it with a finely taken finish into the corner with 12 minutes to play.

But Chelsea were immediately undone by a header from a corner from defender Dara O’Shea as Vincent Kompany’s side rescued an unlikely point and doomed home fans to another frustrating result.

Few players have lived up to Palmer’s example this season, with Saturday’s meek surrender after twice taking the lead a prime case study in a campaign that has gone badly awry.

“He’s a good example for the rest,” said Pochettino.

“From day one he has taken responsibility. When the team struggle to find solutions, they give the ball to him.

“It’s a dream (to have him). He brings very positive things for the team. And for him to have the possibility to play games he didn’t play in the last year for Manchester City.

“Now he has the continuity and consistency, he’s showing the capacity that we thought he could add to the team.”

Chelsea looked to have the game firmly under control when Clarets defender Lorenz Assignon was red carded for fouling Mykhailo Mudryk just before half-time, conceding the penalty from which Palmer scored with an impudent Panenka chip.

But despite peppering the visitors’ goal with 33 shots they failed to stymie Burnley’s threat and never really looking comfortable when out of possession.

That they extended their unbeaten league run to five games, their longest in almost 18 months, was of little consolation to supporters at the final whilst – nor, thinks Pochettino, to Palmer.

“It’s a collective,” he said. “He cannot be happy (after a result like this). He is disappointed.”