Christian Pulisic has struggled for minutes for Chelsea in recent weeks, and Thomas Tuchel explained why to ProSoccerTalk just seconds after the USMNT player was the hero for the Blues against West Ham.
Pulisic, 23, came off the bench to score the game-winning goal for Chelsea in a London derby against West Ham on Sunday.
The American has been an unused substitute in the last two games, and ProSoccerTalk asked Thomas Tuchel to explain why Pulisic was given a rest.
Given Christian Pulisic’s late victory against West Ham, was it a wise choice to rest him?
Tuchel on Pulisic’s lack of playing time
Tuchel laughed, “If you ask him, he’d admit that wasn’t a good idea.”
“It’s the same way, especially with strikers.” Timo [Werner] had to wait for several weeks while he was on the run when he had the confidence and was strongly involved upfront. After the Southampton game, things have improved a little bit.
“Puli has struggled a little since returning from his international break. I believe he had three matches to contend with, as well as an enormous number of journeys and time zones to contend with. From there, he seemed to struggle with energy both on and off the field, in my opinion. It’s like this at times.
“We attempted to restore his confidence from the bench, and I’m pleased with the effort tonight, and I’m delighted that he got the opportunity to make such an effect with Romelu [Lukaku] and Hakim [Ziyech].” This is quite significant.”
What can the USMNT standout expect in the closing weeks of the season?
So, rather than being in bad form, Pulisic was resting following a long international break with the USMNT in late March.
That’s fantastic news.
Pulisic will take a lot of confidence from this late winner, and he’ll likely start against Manchester United on Thursday alongside Lukaku and Ziyech.
Chelsea has a plethora of offensive alternatives, with Timo Werner, Mason Mount, and Kai Havertz being the go-to men in recent weeks, while Pulisic underperformed in both legs of the UEFA Champions League against Real Madrid.
After hauling the USMNT across the finish line in World Cup qualification, Pulisic was certain to be exhausted, so Tuchel’s decision to rest him and risk injury was actually a wise one.
Pulisic can now provide a spark for Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 14 at Wembley, as well as in the last games of the Premier League season as they look to seal third place and prepare for next season.
Then, this summer, we’ll find out just how important Pulisic is to Tuchel’s plans for next season and beyond.
That is the huge question with two years left on Pulisic’s deal, but we’ll save it for another day, Thomas.