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“I didn’t have any doubts” – Pep Guardiola makes Cole Palmer transfer admission ahead of Manchester City return



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on Cole Palmer ahead of the Englishman’s return to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.

City, who are unbeaten against Chelsea since UEFA Champions League Final defeat in 2021, are looking to extend their current winning streak with a victory over Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.

Pep Guardiola’s side have won their last 11 matches across all competitions and could take a major step towards a fourth successive Premier League title with victories against both Chelsea and Brentford over the next week.

Chelsea’s visit to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening offers Cole Palmer the chance to return to his boyhood club after completing a £42.5 million switch to Stamford Bridge in September, having chosen to quit Manchester City in search of regular first-team minutes.

The 21-year-old has already made more starts for Chelsea then during the entirety of his career at City, and has been directly involved in 16 Premier League goals in 21 appearances so far this season.

Palmer scored twice for Manchester City prior to leaving the club on Deadline Day, netting in both the FA Community Shield Final and UEFA Super Cup Final.

The Englishman also scored against the Sky Blues in November, netting a last-gasp equaliser from the penalty spot during an enthralling 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Palmer made 41 appearances over four seasons under Guardiola, and despite making just 13 starts, the Manchester City manager isn’t surprised by the form of the Chelsea forward.

“If he plays regularly, yes [I knew he would perform well],” admitted Guardiola.

“Cole Palmer is an exceptional player and a lovely lad and of course I wish him well at Chelsea.

“I didn’t have any doubts about his quality. The way he’s playing is a star player. He wanted the minutes, it was a question of time to show his immense quality.”

Palmer won six trophies during his time at Manchester City and could win his first piece of silverware with Chelsea later this month, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup Final next weekend.