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Palmer outlines Chelsea dressing room's brutally honest stance on Pochettino

Cole Palmer has attributed Chelsea's 2-1 win over Brighton to Mauricio Pochettino. The 21-year-old midfielder fired the Blues to victory at the Amex Stadium on Wednesday evening, narrowing Erling Haaland's lead in the Premier League Golden Boot race.

Chelsea began in the ascendancy, with Marc Cucurella winning a penalty inside the opening quarter of an hour. Following a review from the Video Assistant Referee, Facundo Buonanotte was adjudged to have won the ball so the west Londoners' spot-kick was overturned.

Then, on the half-hour mark, Palmer broke the deadlock with a looping header. Christopher Nkunku, who replaced Mykhailo Mudryk in the first half, later doubled Chelsea's lead before Danny Welbeck pulled one back for Brighton in stoppage time.

The Blues have now strengthened their bid for Europa League qualification, taking pressure off Pochettino. The former Tottenham Hotspur boss has been heavily scrutinised recently, with an element of uncertainty hanging over his future at Stamford Bridge.

Speaking to the BBC after the Seagulls clash, Palmer heaped praise on Pochettino. He said: "We needed three points and it was hard towards the end but for it to be in our hands to get sixth place is a big thing for us.

"Marc [Cucurella] knows where I'm going to be and I lifted it [the header] over the goalkeeper. Chelsea is a big club and everyone wants to finish higher than sixth but you have to look at where we were at the start of the season.

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"So to get back into Europe would be a step in the right direction. All credit to the manager. All the players love the manager and want to fight for him."

Speaking to reporters after the game, Pochettino was quizzed on his side's performance. The 52-year-old said: "So happy for the players, they deserve the full credit for the way that we worked, our approach to the game and the way we tried to apply all of the work we were doing on the training ground.

"I am proud. To face a team like Brighton is always difficult here. We are so happy because the three points mean we are closer to achieving what we want."

Then, when asked if finishing sixth would be a success, Pochettino added: "We have been all the season talking but it looks like my words are not important and no one cares.

"People only care about rumours and things like this. It’s not important, the most important thing is winning games for me. It has been tough with all the circumstances."

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