Thomas Tuchel has personally apologised to Conor Gallagher after Chelsea blocked the Crystal Palace midfielder from facing his parent club in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final.
Palace made an official request to the Blues but it was turned down due to the terms of Gallagher’s loan deal.
The 22-year-old has impressed since joining Palace last summer, and made his senior England debut in November.
But Tuchel insisted Chelsea’s decision was the right one.
“I had the chance to speak to Conor, and I could also see his frustration,” he said.
“We met some weeks ago, we met after the international break by coincidence in a restaurant, and we had a chat and the subject came up. And I apologised.
“I know how competitive he is and I know his character, I like him a lot and it was a pleasure to have him here in pre-season.
“We play to win the game, the rules were clear when we made the loan. I can totally understand the disappointment of Conor, but these were the rules when we made the loan and we don’t want to suffer from our rules.”
Tuchel’s side face Palace at Wembley on Sunday (16:30 BST), with eight-time winners Chelsea attempting to reach the showpiece final for the third straight season.