Gallagher a priceless player to have – Pochettino

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The manager of Chelsea, Mauricio Pochettino, praised Conor Gallagher as an “invaluable” player following his two-goal performance that propelled the Blues to a win at Crystal Palace.

Gallagher equalized Jefferson Lerma’s opening goal and then found the back of the net again in the 91st minute, with Enzo Fernandez adding a late third goal to secure a 3-1 victory.

The 24-year-old has been the subject of transfer speculation away from the club.

“I think he is a player with a great commitment to the team,” said the Chelsea manager.

“He is always trying to compensate in every situation, in offensive and defensive situations. It’s priceless to have a player like him.”

Reportedly valued at £50 million, Gallagher’s contract with Chelsea extends until the end of next season, but uncertainty surrounds his long-term future, with Tottenham mentioned as a potential destination in the summer.

Nonetheless, Pochettino is convinced that Gallagher is dedicated to staying at the club where he has been since the age of eight.

“He has always told me it is to stay in Chelsea,” Pochettino added.

“He still has one year more on his contract. It’s a matter with him and the club.”

‘Gallagher is a leader’

The England midfielder’s goals against the team where he was on loan during the 2021–22 season marked his first Premier League goals of the year.

Nonetheless, he has been a vital member of Pochettino’s squad, starting 23 league games this year and leading the team when Reece James was sidelined earlier in the campaign.

“He’s always been working hard,” former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech said on Sky Sports. “He’s one of the players that’s always cared about winning and about the club. “You find that even young players can have special abilities to be a leader. Conor is one of those players – he’s always worked hard, he’s always cared and he always tries his best.

“He’s a Chelsea boy, too. He’s pushing and he is one of the captains in the making, because of the way he is.”

Gallagher aims to keep improving

Chelsea’s victory was their second straight after they defeated Aston Villa 3-1 in the FA Cup.

Gallagher scored in that match as well, and with games against championship contenders Liverpool and Arsenal coming up, the midfield player is eager to maintain his momentum.

“It’s about consistency for us,” he said.

“We’ve had some games where we’ve been good and some where we’ve been terrible.

“We’ve got some massive games coming up and we’ll keep trying to improve.”