Premier League English

Pep Guardiola assumes responsibility for Cole Palmer’s Man City exit, with reference also to Jadon Sancho

Cole Palmer is excitedly looking forward to making his return to Manchester City on Saturday after proving beyond all doubts his worthiness and quality at Chelsea this season.

Pep Guardiola has admirably stepped up to take responsibility for Palmer’s exit from Manchester City, by the manage’s own candid admission, adding also that the winger may have stayed had he been given as much playing time as Phil Foden has.

Guardiola was able to understand Palmer’s growing frustrated at his lack of playing time at City, having started just three times in the Premier League over two full seasons, with two of those games coming only after City had secured the title last season. He scored in the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup this season, before making the £42m switch to Chelsea in search of more regular games.

The former City academy talent has allowed the grass to grow under his feet since crossing over to West London, scoring 12 times and assisting nine further goals in 28 appearances, including an injury-time equaliser against City at Stamford Bridge. Admitting that he had told Palmer before that he never doubted the lad’s ability to excel after a run of games, The Spaniard has now taken personal responsibility for not having given the talented 21-year-old star more playing time in enough games, which caused him to leave the club.

“For young players we always want them to stay but this is normal. After two or three seasons he wants more minutes than he had the last season. I understand completely,” Guardiola said.

“When players have the minutes that I didn’t give him, for the reasons everyone knows – the other players. But 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 and we knew it. He is an incredible threat for Chelsea.”

Guardiola expanded on his reasons for playing others ahead of Palmer, accepting that he is responsible for keeping the youngster on the bench which led to his departure. Asked if Palmer might have stayed had he got the game time he asked for, Guardiola drew comparisons to Phil Foden as a player who did play regularly as a youngster, and Jadon Sancho who also left looking for more minutes.

“Phil Foden has more minutes than Cole Palmer has and Jadon Sancho. If Palmer has the minutes I give to Phil from the beginning, Cole Palmer would be here,” Guardiola admitted. “But I didn’t give it to him. That is my responsibility. Why? Bernardo, Riyad, Phil. In that moment I chose the other ones.

“After one season is nice, second season, but third season 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 a top club like Chelsea. I’m really happy for him. In all the clubs these types of things happen. It is not about one situation is different than the other.”