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Palmer hailed as ‘one of the best in the world’ as Chelsea beat Forest

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Reece James has called Chelsea teammate Cole Palmer ‘one of the best in the world’ after the midfielder’s performance in the club’s 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest.

Palmer created the opening goal at the City Ground with a wonderful cutting pass into Mykhailo Mudryk, a perfectly weighted ball between lines for the Ukrainian to latch onto.

The 22-year-old has had a sensational first season for Chelsea and has was this week named the Blues’ Players’ Player of the Season and Player of the Season.

Palmer has scored 21 league goals and created 10 more and James, who made his long-awaited return from injury at Forest, hailed the summer signings as one of the best players in the world.

“It’s been a long wait for me so I’m happy to come back into the team,” James said to Sky Sports.

“We learn every day, we’re still young but we are improving and we’re coming strong at the end of the season. Cole Palmer is one of the best in the world, I think personally. At City he didn’t play as much as he would like but he has come here and taken the chance with both hands.

“Slowly but surely we are finding our feet and reaching a level.”

Palmer modestly disagreed with his captain’s assessment but said it’s ‘nice to hear’ after a breakout campaign in the Premier League.

“I wouldn’t go that far! But it’s nice to hear. It’s all new to me. This is my first season playing properly in the league. It was a very important win and now we focus on the next one.”

Mauricio Pochettino reflected on the win at full-time, a result that saw Chelsea score twice late on through Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Jackson to come from behind and win.

Only the top three have picked up more points than Chelsea (35) since Boxing Day and Pochettino believes his team are paying for a slow start to the campaign.

“The best thing is the way that we always believe until the end, football is about fighting,” he said to Sky Sports.

“I am pleased because the players from the bench made a big impact so I am happy with our recovery. It was important for the team to finish the season strong, with the hope to start next season really well.

“If we are honest we were punished in our first 10 games. Our performance was good but we were not clinical and we wasted big chances. All the data said we were in a false position. After we beat Tottenham, in the last 24 games we are in the top four or five.

“I want to be positive, that is important. The players believe in the way that we work. We have struggled in these type of games but this young team need to realise how we need to compete.”

Read – Five forwards primed for a move to Europe’s top leagues this summer 

See more – Six of the most improved Premier League players of 2023/24

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