Christian Pulisic admitted that it was “not easy” for him in the last weeks at Chelsea, because the American national team player has been struggling for a few minutes since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel at the club.
Quite the opposite was expected from Pulišić, as it was Tuchel who gave the USMNT star his senior debut at Borussia Dortmund in 2016 as a 17-year-old, but only one Premier League match has started since the end of January, a 0-0 draw with Leeds 13 March
Entering the game from Leeds, Pulisic was one of only four players not to start a league match for Tuchel along with Willy Caballer, Billy Gilmour and Emerson Palmieri.
As a result, several questions were asked about his future at the club after the end of the current campaign, as Tuchel admitted that his team was “unfair” to the 22-year-old striker.
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Speaking at a training camp in Austria ahead of US friendly matches against Jamaica and Northern Ireland in the international break, Pulisic sees parallels now that he first joined the Dortmund Blues in a £ 58mn contract back in 2019.
“It wasn’t easy, I think I was in a similar situation when I first came to Chelsea,” Pulisic said.
“I had to work hard and earn a position on the team and finally get a few minutes. I feel like I did it, I feel like I’m basically going out and trying to do the same now.
“Right now I feel very confident in my form and the way I feel and play. I’m on the right track.
“I’m a guy who always wants to play, but I think I’m on a very good path. I like not to prove people wrong, but in a way I’m proving myself right.
“Coming to camp I’m just excited to get more minutes and play for my country. No matter what happens at the club level, I’m thrilled to be here.”
Pulisic has been fighting for form this season with Chelsea in a stop-start campaign. The American missed the start of 2020/21 due to a tendon injury sustained during last year’s FA Cup final and missed six additional games between September and November.
Tuchel has been repeatedly asked about Pulisic’s lack of minutes for his club since the German head coach replaced Frank Lampard in late January, after which he embarked on an unbeaten 14-game series to start his career in West London.
“I can’t say anything about him other than good things. Maybe his biggest problem is that I know him from Dortmund and I think he only started in cup games,” Tuchel said after Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Everton earlier this month.
“It’s my responsibility and it’s a bit unfair, but I know what impact it can have in the last 20 or 30 minutes.
“He’s had a bit of luck in the last few games. It’s not about a lack of confidence or quality, he’s just going to have to be patient.”
Pulisic also admitted at a press conference that he would like to represent the United States at the next Summer Olympics in Tokyo between July 21 and August 7, for which he has the right to perform if the US team secures the qualifications.
That would mean that if he stays at the club until the end of the campaign, then he would miss the vast majority, if not all, of Chelsea’s pre-season campaign ahead of the 2021/22 Premier League season.
The inclusion of the 2022 Winter World Cup in Qatar means that the Premier League season is likely to start a week earlier than usual, so it could start in the first week of August and end a week later than usual in May.