Tuchel explains his treatment of USMNT star Christian Pulisic
LONDON -- Christian Pulisic has found minutes hard to come by for Chelsea in recent weeks and moments after the USMNT star was the hero for the Blues against West Ham, Thomas Tuchel explained to ProSoccerTalk why he’s been on the periphery.
[ MORE: Pulisic the hero for Chelsea ]
On Sunday Pulisic, 23, jumped off the bench to score the 90th minute winner for Chelsea in a London derby against West Ham.
The American has been an unused sub in the last two games and ProSoccerTalk asked Tuchel to explain that time out for Pulisic.
Was it a good idea to give Christian Pulisic a break given his late winner against West Ham?
Tuchel on Pulisic’s lack of minutes
“If you ask him he would say it was not a good idea,” Tuchel laughed.
“It is like this, especially with the strikers. He has a period when he was on the run, when he had the confidence and he was heavily involved up front and Timo [Werner] had to wait for many, many weeks. Now things turned around a little bit from the Southampton game.
“Puli struggled a little but since he came back from international break. Where I think he had three matches and incredible amount of journeys and time zones to cope with. From there he struggled a bit energy wise, that was my impression on and off the pitch. Sometimes it is like this.
“We tried to bring him back to full confidence from the bench and I’m happy with the effort today and I’m very happy that he had the chance to have this huge impact together with Romelu [Lukaku] and Hakim [Ziyech]. This is super important.”
Pulisic happy to prove a point
“It was a massive goal. We had so much pressure on them for most of the game but we couldn’t get that breakthrough, so I am happy I was able to help out,” Pulisic said.
“I always want to be on the pitch, to help my team and I am glad I got the opportunity today. We played a good match and we got our deserved goal in the end.
“I needed to come in and make a difference, prove I want to be playing and I am happy I did that.”
Christian Pulisic has that fire in his belly and he is the angry Pulisic we saw for the USMNT in the final rounds of World Cup qualifying. Angry Pulisic is the best kind of Pulisic.
Some players play with a smile on their face but some are better with a point to prove. Pulisic firmly slots into the latter category.
What lies in store for USMNT star in final weeks of season?
So, this recent absence has been more about Pulisic being rested after a tough international break with the USMNT in late March rather than poor form.
That is good to hear.
Pulisic will gain a lot of confidence from this late winning goal and he will likely start along with Lukaku and Ziyech at Manchester United on Thursday.
Chelsea have a wealth of attacking options and Timo Werner, Mason Mount and Kai Havertz have been the go-to guys in recent weeks, while Pulisic struggled in both legs against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.
When you think about it, Pulisic was bound to be shattered after dragging the USMNT over the line in World Cup qualifying and it’s actually a good thing that Tuchel rested him and risked injury.
Pulisic can now give Chelsea a spark in the FA Cup final against Liverpool on May 14 at Wembley, and in the final games of the Premier League season as they aim to further cement third place and build for next season.
Then, we will get to find out this summer just how big of a player Pulisic is in Tuchel’s plans for next season and beyond.
With two years left on Pulisic’s contract that is the big question but we will leave that one for another day, Thomas.