Chelsea have their own Di Maria in Cole Palmer as forward told to be ‘more naughty’ | Football | Sport

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Chelsea’s boss, Mauricio Pochettino, has told forward Cole Palmer to be “more naughty” and celebrate if he scores against his old team. He compared Palmer to Argentina’s star player, Angel Di Maria, and wants the ex-Manchester City midfielder to enjoy his first game back at Etihad since he moved to Stamford Bridge last summer. Pochettino made it clear that he doesn’t want former City players Palmer and Raheem Sterling to hold back their celebrations out of respect for their old team.

Pochettino said: “When you play for different shirts and badges and clubs, you cannot stop your feelings. When you score, it’s the most beautiful feeling in your body and you cannot say: ‘I don’t want to celebrate.’ I think you need to celebrate, you are now playing for another team. You show respect when you were there and you give everything to the club and the badge, and the people. But now you defend another shirt, you need to celebrate because, you know, you are part of another history.”

Pochettino is glad that City let Palmer go last summer but thinks they probably only agreed to the deal because he is young and still has a lot to prove. However, Pochettino, who is a former Argentina World Cup star, sees some similarities between Palmer and his fellow countryman Di Maria.

“Maybe I’m wrong, but Di Maria because he plays in the same position, his physicality is similar. Of course, Di Maria is an amazing player, a world champion and is still far away so Cole needs to improve a lot before he can reach his level,” Pochettino added.

“But you can see how clever he is and Di Maria was always also doing naughty things on the pitch because he’s so competitive. These types of player are so competitive.

“Everyone talked about ‘he’s an amazing player, a talented player, with potential to be top.’ But like all young players, there is a question mark as to how he would arrive and adapt to the team and the environment and everything.

“But of course I need to be honest, he’s surprised everyone because always when you sign a player you expect something but not so quick like he was, after one or two weeks he was playing and it was like he had been here for years.”

Pochettino also highlighted the importance of Chelsea’s other former City star Sterling to his squad – especially as a senior figure among the younger players – even though he only came on as a substitute in their last two games.

Pochettino added: “I think he is doing really well. I don’t like to compare but I think this season he’s doing really well for the team and the good thing is whether he plays or he doesn’t play, he is always positive, always helping and that’s very important for an experienced player like him.”naughty”It’s important to have a player like that in the project when you have young players because you need his experience and adding to the team goals and good performances but also helping like in the last two games.”


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