‘He’s a top player’: Pundit defends Chelsea player after poor outing against Middlesbrough

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Paul Merson has defended Cole Palmer ahead of Chelsea’s second leg Carabao Cup semi-final clash with Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge.

Palmer, who was used as a false nine in the first leg of the fixture, got into a lot of nice positions, but somehow managed to miss all the good chances that came his way, as the Blues succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at the Riverside Stadium.

The 21-year-old’s display was followed with criticisms from many who saw the game, but Merson insists it is a little too harsh to judge the player after just one bad game.

He told Sky Sports: “Cole Palmer just had one of those days in the first game. He’s a top player and I don’t look at that performance and go, ‘He can’t do it at the top level’ – he got in the positions but he’s not a natural finisher.

“No disrespect to him but when he went through one-on-one and dragged it past the post, that’s normal. It just showed it didn’t fall at his feet the other day.”