Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino admits ‘own Mesut Ozil’ has surprised him

Mauricio Pochettino reviews Brentford defeat

Chelsea’s ‘own Mesut Ozil’ Cole Palmer has exceeded Mauricio Pochettino’s expectations since signing for the Blues this summer from Manchester City. Despite his £45million price tag, the Argentine anticipated that it would take Palmer some time to settle in at Stamford Bridge.

But the Englishman has hit the ground running and according to his manager he’s playing like ‘he has been at the club for ten years’. “We’re happy in the way he arrived in the last moment of the transfer window and he’s playing like he’s here for 10 years. He’s showing great performances, character and personality, “ said Pochettino.

“You create expectations when you sign a player but, of course, I cannot say I expected this. If I do, I’m lying. From day one when he started to train, you could see the talent. That’s when you can feel the player.”

Palmer’s versatility and keen eye for a pass have drawn comparisons with former Arsenal midfielder Ozil. Against the Gunners last week he operated as a false nine while he switched to a No 10 role behind Nicolas Jackson during the Blues’ clash with Brentford on Saturday.

He was the silver lining in an otherwise dismal display and has been a bright spark throughout Chelsea’s up-and-down campaign. Peter Crouch watched on at Stamford Bridge as the west Londoners fell to a 2-0 defeat against the Bees – their fourth in ten Premier League fixtures.

Although he wasn’t impressed by what he saw from the team as a collective he highlighted Palmer’s impressive showing at the break. “It’s also the weight of his passes, no matter where he is on the pitch,” Crouch told TNT Sports at half-time. “For someone so young, you see him directing players around the pitch, he’s got a great left foot.

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“I’ve said it before, but he reminds me of a young Mesut Ozil, he’s dropping back, trying to find passes with that left foot, he’s a technician. By far he’s been the best player on the pitch.”

Chelsea icon Joe Cole was also impressed by Palmer’s performance. “He always seems to be playing at his own pace, and his ability to recognise when the runners are going, [Noni] Madueke and [Raheem] Sterling, is great,” he added.

“It’s really and truly difficult for a 21-year-old to come into this Chelsea side that has been struggling and be the one to say ‘Alright lads, we need to pick this up’. He operates predominantly in between the lines, and I think he’s quickly becoming a leader in this team.

“Cole Palmer though has been fantastic, he looks like a player that’s been unaffected by what’s happened here over the past 12-18 months. He was a bright spark in an average performance so far, he just picks the right pass constantly.”

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