Emerson Palmieri believes his strike against Atletico Madrid can reignite his Chelsea spell under Thomas Tuchel amid links to Serie A clubs Roma and Inter Milan
- Left-back Emerson Palmieri has been struggling for game time at Chelsea
- Ben Chilwell and Marcos Alonso are above him in pecking order under Tuchel
- His future at Chelsea is in doubt with links to Italian clubs Roma and Inter Milan
For Emerson Palmieri, the goal against Atletico Madrid felt significant. It was not just the final strike in an emphatic Chelsea win or the 9,000th goal scored in the Champions League.
It was his chance to overcome. The Brazil-born Italy international — on the bench for most of this season — was sent on with four minutes remaining of the second leg of the last-16 tie. With his first touch, he scored to banish Atletico.
Emerson was then selected by manager Thomas Tuchel, his fourth boss in three years since signing from Roma, to start the FA Cup quarter-final against Sheffield United, four days later, and called into the Italy squad by Roberto Mancini.
Emerson Palmieri scored the final goal in an emphatic victory for Chelsea over Atletico Madrid
The left-back scored with his first touch after coming on as a substitute in Champions League
He won another cap in the World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland in what could be a turning point for the 26-year-old. ‘Atletico was not a typical game for me,’ Emerson tells Sportsmail.
‘I was probably sent on just to waste some time but when I saw our players attacking, I went into the free space, thinking, “Will the ball come to me?” and it did. It was a very special goal.’
The goal had been predicted by team-mate Jorginho, and Thiago Silva, who was injured, promised Emerson he would jump about in the stands if it came true.
‘I saw Thiago coming down the stands,’ says Emerson. ‘It was a moment of pure happiness. I was on the other side of the field, but I could hear Jorginho, Thiago and Mason Mount very happy for my goal. Thiago was screaming!’
The arrival of Tuchel in January provided a fresh start because Emerson, who was cast aside in the latter days of Frank Lampard’s tenure, has not started a Premier League game for more than a year. It has been no easier to break in under Tuchel with Ben Chilwell and Marcos Alonso available down the left.
The left-back remains on the fringes of the Chelsea squad and could leave for Italy in summer
‘Managers have their preferences and we have to accept it,’ he says.
‘The only thing I can do is to be professional. This kind of difficulty is what makes an athlete evolve. It’s a challenge. I respect their work and they respect mine.
‘None of us can afford a mistake because it can lead to losing the position.’
Tuchel has impressed Emerson. ‘On the first day Thomas arrived, we saw how much he loves the details. He loves to show videos, talk a lot and concentrate on minor things that can make a difference,’ he says.
Emerson’s future will be under scrutiny in the summer after he was linked with Roma and Inter in January.
On international duty last week he told the Italian media: ‘We’ll see what happens in June’.
Back in London, he is focused on the final weeks of the season and playing his part for Chelsea.
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