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‘The fans make me proud to be part of this football club’ – James McArthur on Palace’s defeat at Wembley and backing Tyrick Mitchell

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Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur has told Tyrick Mitchell that his mistake for Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s opener in the 2-0 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea on Sunday does not define him.

England international Mitchell was dispossessed by Cesar Azpilicueta, which led to former Eagles loanee Loftus-Cheek hammering the first goal past Jack Butland in the 65th minute.

Mitchell was consoled at full time by players from both sides.

McArthur told the South London Press: “I spoke to him in there [the dressing room]. I said to him that we’re very proud of what he has done and what he has become, to look where he was two years ago.

“From what I can remember of the goal, he didn’t have anything on, so it was not like he had an easy pass. It was an interception, and it happens all the way throughout the game. Unfortunately it has led to a goal –  but it doesn’t define him as a player or as a person.”

McArthur played 72 minutes before being replaced by Michael Olise.

Chelsea v Crystal Palace Emirates FA Cup Semi-Final, Wembley Stadium, 17 April 2022

“Sunday’s game is very, very hard to take, but in football, you need to move on fast,” said the Scot, who captained the Eagles last weekend. “The one thing that I came away with was the real pride and joy of this football club.

“I sat on the bench at the end of the game, we’re 2-0 down, and to listen to our fans singing like we have won the game, it makes me proud to be a part of this football club.

“I love this club – I have enjoyed every moment. I have found it quite tough with injuries recently, but I am glad to be back and helping the team on the field.”

Conor Gallagher was unable to play for the Eagles against his parent club. The 22-year-old midfielder has scored eight goals during his season-long loan and gained international recognition with Gareth Southgate’s England side for his performances.

McArthur said: “He is someone who is going to have an amazing future in the game. I would like that to be at Crystal Palace, but I am sure that he will be given a chance at Chelsea next year, and he will do well.”

PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD

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