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Chelsea flop Nicolas Jackson warned team-mates could start ignoring him as he struggles to find net


CHELSEA players may soon start IGNORING misfiring striker Nicolas Jackson.

The £30million summer signing from Villarreal flopped again as Mauricio Pochettino’s side scraped a last-gasp win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.

Nicolas Jackson is struggling for form

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Nicolas Jackson is struggling for formCredit: Getty

Jackson, 22, did put the ball in the net at Stamford Bridge —  before VAR ruled it out for offside.

But when the Senegal star was presented with a perfect second-half opportunity by Conor Gallagher’s precision pass,  it was Jackson who ended up in the back of the net, not the ball.

Dutch defender Mario Melchiot, who played with Jimmy Floyd ­Hasselbaink and Didier Drogba at Chelsea between 2000 and 2004, was not impressed.

He said of Jackson: “He is making it very, very hard for himself.

“He has the speed and the power but he doesn’t have the calmness in his head that I feel a proper striker needs.

“He’s not an old guy. He still has time. The only thing he needs to work on is the calmness.

“If you look at the ultimate  strikers who played for Chelsea, I give you an example of my time with Hasselbaink or Drogba, those guys were calm.

“Sometimes they’d fall out with you if you didn’t give them the ball.

“He needs to get himself to that level because people are going to start thinking, ‘should I give it to him or should I finish it myself?’ ”

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Jackson has eight Chelsea goals to his name so far — but three of those were against a Tottenham team that had gone down to nine men.

And the player knows he is at a club that spends big in transfer windows.

Brentford’s Ivan Toney will be up for grabs in a matter of days and Chelsea are set to go head-to-head with Arsenal and Tottenham for the England striker, whose ban for betting offences expires on January 16.

Brentford are expected to demand £100m-plus for Toney but if the striker opted for the Emirates Stadium instead of Stamford Bridge, Melchiot would not blame him.

The Gunners are mounting a title challenge for the second season running, while Pochettino’s side are scudding around in mid-table.

ESPN pundit Melchiot said: “Chelsea is not a place where we are going to see great football. Palace never used to come to the Bridge to be that confident.”

Noni Madueke is hoping his penalty winner against Palace will be his Cole Palmer moment at Chelsea.

England Under-21 star Madueke kept his cool to slot home the 89th-minute spot-kick that earned Chelsea a 2-1 victory.

Noni Madueke netted against Crystal Palace

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Noni Madueke netted against Crystal PalaceCredit: Alamy

The sub won it himself, tricking Eberechi Eze into a clumsy challenge that was missed by referee Michael Salisbury but not VAR. Penalties are up for grabs under  Pochettino and it is Palmer who has made his name by scoring them this season.

The summer signing fought off team-mate Raheem Sterling to net one against Arsenal,  then became a cult hero by scoring at the death to secure a 4-4 draw with his old club Manchester City.

But Palmer and Sterling were suspended against Palace. Fringe man   Madueke stepped up and he is hoping Pochettino will view him as someone who can be trusted in the big moments.

So far Poch has started Madueke just once in the Premier League — a 2-0 home loss to Brentford.

The £35m January signing from PSV Eindhoven said: “We don’t have a designated taker but I’m confident with pens so I thought ‘I’ll do it’. Pat myself down, take the pen and score,  no problem!

“You are trying just to relax. Everything around you is chaos.  When he gave it to me, I just went through my routine and stuck it away.

“I’m sure that will open up more opportunities in the future to start games. I know I’ve got the ability.”





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