Christian Pulisic on goal vs. Liverpool, Chelsea form; Tuchel challenges USMNT star
Christian Pulisic has reflected on his big goal which grabbed Chelsea a point against Liverpool, plus his manager Thomas Tuchel challenged the USMNT star to keep improving.
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Pulisic, 23, has played the full 90 minutes in each of Chelsea’s last five Premier League games and he’s played in a variety of positions as a false nine, wing-back and he was back to his natural position as a winger from the start in the 2-2 draw against Liverpool.
The American superstar did end up playing the last 20 minutes as a right wing-back once again and he’s showed off his versatility in recent weeks due to Chelsea’s long list of injuries and absentees through illness.
Asked about his own form in recent weeks after he returned from injury in November, here’s what Christian Pulisic had to say.
American winger happy to be back playing
“It has been great to be back in a bit of a rhythm. I think I am happy with how far I’ve come, especially since my injury earlier this season,” Pulisic said. “I’m happy with my form and the way that I’m playing but I still have a lot to improve on so I’m just going to keep going.”
Pulisic took his goal really well but had a few other big chances and his confidence just seems to have taken a hit after he was asked to play out of position up front and then as a wing-back in recent weeks. After such a long time out he’s played the full 90 in five games over the last two weeks, four of which have been draws as Chelsea’s title push has faltered, and that is a lot of pressure for the USMNT star to take on board as he’s struggled to impact games.
But he did score against Liverpool (his third goal of the season) and he was asked about the strike which made it 2-2 right on half time.
“I remember [on his goal] that Toni [Rudiger] won a ball and I had a run to make and NG [Kante] slipped me in,” Pulisic. “My first touch was good and I knew I just needed to lift it a bit with my left and put it to the far post. When I hit it I actually thought it was going to hit the crossbar or go over, but luckily it dipped just in time.”
It was a classy finish from Christian Pulisic but he did rue missing a big chance early in the game as he was clean through on goal after a deflection fell his way but he delayed his finish and Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher was able to smother the ball at his feet.
Reflecting on a wild clash, Pulisic said he was delighted to be out there in such a high-profile game but he knows his early chance was one that got away.
“Obviously a fantastic match of football, one with emotions flying all over the place and one where we would have loved to have got three points but in the end it was a good fight from the team,” Pulisic said. “Definitely back and forth. It felt like we were playing extremely well and they scored two goals, which is unfortunate. I had a chance early on which I wish I could have finished. That could have changed the game. Then they score two and we showed good fight to get back in the game. I was really happy with that.”
Tuchel challenges USMNT star to be sharper
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was also happy with the fighting spirit from his team as they battled back from 2-0 down to grab a point but they are now 10 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City after a run of four draws and one defeat from their last seven games.
Asked specifically about Pulisic’s display and his recent form after being back to fitness, Tuchel challenged the USMNT star to keep improving.
“Still room for improvement,” Tuchel said of Pulisic. “I have the feeling I know him even better, I know him to be more and more clinical and more precise. How to fight out of this little hole with games like this, goals like this, this is it and he was strong. He helped in the end as a defender and was a huge step up front for him today.”
Tuchel may sound harsh here, but he’s right.
Pulisic scored a lovely goal but struggled in the flow of the game and you get the sense he’s still getting up to speed and regaining his confidence. To be going through that and still score an equalizer against Liverpool isn’t bad, like Tuchel said, and this display should give the USMNT plenty of confidence.
With Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner expected to return to the Chelsea team in the coming days and weeks, will Pulisic continue to play regularly? He’s shown Tuchel he can count on him but the USMNT star knows he has yet to hit his best form.
Christian Pulisic believes he and Chelsea just need a little more luck to get back in the title race this season.
“I think it should give us confidence [the draw against Liverpool] especially being 2-0 down, that we are able to score goals, we are able to compete with the best teams in the world,” Pulisic said. “We know that, we’ve seen that last season, we’ve done it this season and we are a confident team. We should go into any match with our heads high and to go out to win the game. That is what we did today but maybe we didn’t get that exact luck that I still feel like we are missing in the last couple of weeks, but that can chance quickly and we are hoping it will.”