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Christian Pulisic’s situation at Chelsea goes from bad to worse


If Christian Pulisic was feeling frustrated BEFORE Chelsea’s Champions League match against Lille, then must be feeling downright exasperated after failing to even make the bench in Chelsea’s 2-1 victory on Wednesday.

Pulisic made headlines recently when he revealed his frustration with not playing much in Chelsea’s recent matches.

“Yeah, of course, it is very frustrating, but I will continue to work my hardest because I want to play,” Pulisic told NBC Sports.

“Not so much,” Pulisic said when asked if Lampard had provided specific feedback on how to earn more playing time. “He just said keep working, and now I have to prove myself in training and try to get back in the line up.”

Is it a coincidence that Pulisic went from being stuck on the bench to not even making the bench in the very next match after the above comments? Or was this Lampard’s not-so-subtle way of reminding Pulisic that nothing is assured, not even his place on the bench?

As if failing to make the bench wasn’t bad enough for Pulisic, he had to sit and watch Callum Hudson-Odoi and Willian — two of the players who have eaten away at his disappearing playing time — combine on the winning goal in the 2-1 triumph over Lille.

Now Pulisic has gone five matches out of Chelsea’s past six matches without seeing a single minute of playing time, with the lone exception being a Carabao Cup start against Grimsby Town.

He now finds himself as the low man on the Chelsea winger totem pole. That trend isn’t likely to change for the better given how well Chelsea’s wing options are performing.

“We have to have really strong competition in wide areas and attacking areas,” Lampard said on Wednesday. “It must be like that, it must be on edge, and I’ve got a few different options in that area.”

Lampard has leaned on veterans and Pedro as wing options, while recently bringing along Hudson-Odoi, who has responded well to the opportunity. Throw in the inclusion of Mason Mount, a Lampard favorite who is more naturally suited to a central midfield role, but who has been deployed wide at times, and you can see just how Pulisic has come to find himself the odd man out.

What Pulisic can’t afford to do is let frustration get the better of him. Acknowledging that frustration publicly probably wasn’t the best way to ingratiate himself to his new manager, even if the comments he actually made weren’t all that flagrant.

The good news for Pulisic is an international break is coming, and he will have two opportunities to play for the United States in Nations League. After allowing Pulisic to leave September camp early, look for Berhalter to give Pulisic two starts in order to help him get some minutes under his belt.

What Pulisic does for the USMNT in October isn’t likely to help his chances of breaking back in at Chelsea, but some confidence-boosting performances for the national team could only serve to help a player who could definitely use something to feel good about.


  1. No one should waste time defending the decisions Premiership managers. And perhaps they are biased against Americans. I doubt it, but maybe.
    If there is fault to be assigned here, it has to be with Pulisic and his advisers. Players as young as he is rarely play regularly in the Premiership, especially with the top six clubs. Pulisic needed to find a team where he was almost guaranteed to play regularly even if it were a Dutch team or one of the lesser French teams or whatever. It was far too soon for him to be thinking of Chelsea and any similar teams.

  2. After not featuring in the EPL games, I assumed Pulisic would be in the CL rotation similar to how he was used last season at Dortmund. Instead Lampard has basically used the same lineup for both competitions and not rotated players much at all, not sure that’s sustainable. I think that eventually Lampard will be forced to rotate and Pulisic will get more game time, either through injuries or fatigue. For whatever reason, Lampard doesn’t rate Pulisic right now. Hopefully Pulisic keeps his head and keeps working. His talent will get him on the field eventually.

    • Familiarity with the system or not, CP 10 has proved himself in Champions League and Bundeslega. What has Mount done? A couple of years in the Championship. P-ssshaw.

      FL is being a prick. He didn’t pick CP, the last coach did, so FL has to come in just to prove how much of a control freak he is. In the end, one of them will lose. FL might be Chelsea royalty but this mediocre season has him on the hot seat already. Money talks and Chelsea has staked $75 million on Pulisic.

  3. Fuc# Lampard. I hope Chelsea implode. It is obvious that EPL coaches are biased against American players. Been that way forever. The bright side is that CP made a boatload of money on the Chelsea move. He should go back to the Bundesliga and never look back.

  4. The thing I don’t understand is how it is negative that Pulisic said he was frustrated by the lack of playing time. Don’t you want your players to want to be on the field? Are they supposed to be happy on the bench?

  5. I don’t think it is as black and white as everyone wants it.
    Yes, I agree, as an American, I would never go to England. Somehow English players are fine to it in there on top teams, but not US players.
    BUT Pulisic has a ways to go too. This isnt can I get a good review by people/media that want me to be so good it hurts them. It is real life and competitive.
    Not like we haven’t seen this on the nat team and other playing of his too. And he may never be able to be a physical player and always have that handicap to his game. He is very slight and doesn’t look intent on changing that.
    Add in a third factor. Lampard looks lost. So even if CP starts outperforming everyone, no guarantee there that it works out.

    • Who do you play? A Brazilian National – a Spanish National – an American National?
      Who do you play? A 6’1″ forward who is scoring. A 6’2″ forward who is scoring. or a 5’8″ winger who is not scoring

      I am not sure that I understand the lack of rotation for Lampard’s team. He has a long season with Champion’s League. Granted, he played Pulisic in the Carabo Cup. But, if I was a Chelsea fan, I would be concerned that Super Frank is going to run Mount and Abraham into the ground. Even kids need a game off.

      • Agreed. He hasn’t earned a starting role nor is he better than Willian or Pedro. However, he’s either not making the game day or simply riding the bench. It’s a waste not to use him for 20-25 minutes and run at defenders late in a match. And while Mount has scored a few goals, IMO he’s not better than Pulisic. Giving him that much PT is baffling.

    • Yet people keep pulling out the “American’s get no respect” card. I think anyone who honestly watches Chelsea play under Lampard will admit that Willian, Pedro, Mason Mount, and Hudson-Odoi deserve the playing time they’re getting at the moment.

  6. C’mon Ives, what good news? playing under an amateurish coach… Berhalter and the USSF have been the demise of the NT. and No one is talking about it…

    • don’t be so immature…how has Greg and USSF ruined the NT? I believe we just played in or regional final, and if our “supposed” stars were clinical in their finishing we’d probably be having a different conversation. Greg is doing the right thing in that he wants the team to play progressively, instead of playing for a hope and prayer with the long balls, and while it hasn’t quite looked fliud yet there is time to get the team there. Continously berating GB because he’s not complying with fans demands is childish imho, and i for one hope he proves this “unwarranted” egotistical fanbase wrong!

  7. he was sarri’s purchase. sarri left for juve. he is not lampard’s guy. lampard brought mount with him from derby. his choices are basically wait and see if mount gets hurt, wait and see if lampard gets fired, or skedaddle. coaches like to express their critiques of players as “he needs to work on x” so that the door remains open if an injury happens or the benched player suddenly takes off. this should also be the latest cautionary tale that if you are/have struggled for playing time that calibrating your destination to ensure playing time at the next stop would be wise. i know the snobs want this to be a top-of-B1 to top-of-EPL cinderella story but what we need is him fit and seeing the field. a few spots further down the table might have accomplished that. at which point inevitably we would have the “he plays there but i wish he was at a better club” abstract vicarious discussion instead of the “he needs to go somewhere to get minutes” concrete discussion of the moment.

    • ceaselessly brutal commentary. Sarri doesn’t purchase players, you moron. Chelsea managers do not purchase players.. you moron. Come on guy.

      • you don’t think the coach has a say in who gets signed? it’s a matter of record that CFC management asked sarri about what his opinion was on Pulisic. you don’t think mount from derby is basically lampard from derby’s choice? it’s a lame attempt to parse that some business guy signs the contracts and makes the deals. yes, but they ask the coach. or the coach in the case of mount probably asked explicitly for them to buy.

      • this is mindnumbingly basic. the coach who you were going to play for, left the team. the new coach didn’t ask the team to sign you, he asked them to sign the same guy that played for him on the last team. pulisic is unlikely to see time unless mount gets hurt for the same reasons bradley and trapp are written in pen for berhalter. some coaches are more objective but in this case there is a coach’s pet in between pulisic and regular time. he should ask for a loan out, and with Chelsea that possibility should have been OBVIOUS.

    • When the Chelsea board bought Pulisic, Sarri was interviewed and claimed that he didn’t even know about Pulisic. Get your facts straight.

  8. P is getting a message….definitely a relationship problem. Man U is looking for help. Maybe Italy? P is physically not up to English standards. Would Man U trade Martial for him? Possible. It would be abetter fit for both clubs.

    • John, as a suffering Manchester United fan right now, I do not want Pulisic. Martial, even with an injury, is twice the player Pulisic is at the moment. And I don’t even rate Martial.

      • You may be right, yet I think the Man U coach would be a better fit as Puli seems to respond to friendlier treatment better. Martial is a spoiled sport, has already got his money and will not likely to improve his game in the future. P has talent but might do better in Italy, Portugal, even France or Spain.

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