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Tuchel explains lack of playing time for USMNT’s Pulisic

Thomas Tuchel discusses Christian Pulisic's future at Chelsea after offering an in-depth explanation of the USMNT star's recent run on the bench.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has explained why USMNT star Christian Pulisic has not been playing more for the Blues over the last few months, as reports state ‘top clubs’ are interested in a move for the American winger this summer.

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Pulisic, 22, has started just once for Chelsea in the Premier League since Tuchel took charge and a report from Fabrizio Romano states that several clubs want to sign him this summer, but the Pennsylvania native isn’t pushing to leave.

“Christian Pulisic has always been respectful with Chelsea - great professional. There’s interest from top clubs in case he’ll leave, normal for this kind of talent. But Pulisic is still fighting for Chelsea... and nothing will be decided before June.”

The American winger came on as a substitute in the 90th minute in the win against Everton on Monday as Tuchel stretched his unbeaten run to 11 games since replacing Frank Lampard as Chelsea’s head coach.

Following that game at Stamford Bridge, ProSoccerTalk asked Tuchel about Pulisic’s lack of playing time and here was his answer.

“I cannot say anything other than positive things about him. Maybe his problem is that I know from Dortmund how strong he is from the bench. I think he started only in the cup game and in the end that is my responsibility and my fault. But like I said, it is a bit unfair but I know how good he is and what an impact he can have in 20-30 mins. He was unlucky in the last games. It is not a lack of trust or lack of quality. It is maybe just to be a bit patient.

“We have, for example, another guy which I would love to mention which is Emerson who suffers from bad decisions against him from me, who does not play but is an amazing guy and trains at the highest level. Never lets the team down from his mentality. This was a super hard decision today to have him out of the squad. The same with Tammy [Abraham]. It is like this and tells us we have a strong group and guys have to keep on fighting. There is no other way.”

How concerning are these comments for Pulisic?

Previously, Tuchel has spoken about his plan to keep Pulisic at Chelsea this summer, if the club decides that is the right decision too, and he clearly likes him from their time together at Borussia Dortmund.

There have been issues early on for Pulisic under Tuchel, as he picked up injuries and missed one game due to personal reasons, the narrow 3-4-2-1 system doesn’t really suit him and other forward players have taken their chances when playing ahead of him.

But that comment from Tuchel about him being a little unfair on Pulisic as he clearly believes he is a good option off the bench, that is concerning.

That says to Pulisic ‘look, train all week and even if you rip it up, I’m probably going to start you on the bench because you can win the game in the final 20 minutes.’

Is Pulisic happy with what is effectively the role of a closer?

Injuries, a surge in form from Chelsea’s other attackers, tactical changes and other issues aside, USMNT fans will be far from happy with the way Pulisic has been used so far, especially with Tuchel set to be in charge of the Blues for a long time considering how well he’s started.

This summer feels like a big one for Pulisic and his career.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports