Christian Pulisic made an impact this past weekend for Chelsea in a 4-1 win over Southampton. The 21-year-old came off the bench and recorded his second league assist of the season, making a 10-minute cameo at St. Mary’s Stadium.
It was Pulisic’s first league appearance for the Blues since Aug. 31st and his fifth overall this season. The return of several players from injury and the in-form play of Mason Mount, Willian, Pedro and others have caused Frank Lampard to cut Pulisic’s playing time, but the U.S. Men’s National Team star isn’t going to give up on the fight for consistent minutes.
“I did the best I could with the minutes I got. I tried to help the team as best I could. Today, I guess I’m happy but I’m going to keep working harder, and I’m never going to stop to try to get more minutes,” Pulisic said postmatch.
“I’m not just going to throw a fit and give up ever, so if I’m on the bench it doesn’t mean the gaffer doesn’t think I’m a part of the team, I’ve just got to keep pushing and earn my spot.
Pulisic has seen time both on the left wing and in midfield this season with Chelsea, a role which will continuously change due to other attacking players being thrown into the mix. His link-up play with Michy Batshuayi for Chelsea’s final goal of the match is definitely a confidence booster for Pulisic going forward as he now tries to force himself into the starting XI following the international break.
“That’s my job [to get assists]. I’m in an attacking role and I’m going to do the best I can, to try to get goals and assists. I think that’s been good so far, so I just want to continue to work hard,” Pulisic said.
“I want to be starting, I want to be starting every game. I’m working hard in training, I want to be there, I hope everyone can see that, so with moments like this I hope I can make a case for myself. He [Frank Lampard] likes players who work very hard and show a lot in training and I just have to continue to do that, do my best in training and try to earn my position.”
After five years at Borussia Dortmund, the move to Chelsea has definitely brought pressure on Pulisic to produce quickly as the Blues try to get back to success in all competitions. Pulisic’s £58 million price tag may be the most-ever for an American player, but the midfielder isn’t phased by the number and knows his work ethic is key for getting onto the pitch frequently.
“This number [the £58 million transfer fee] doesn’t mean anything to me. Obviously, I go out and try to give my best every time I’m on the pitch. I’m not sure what the price tag means to you, but I just have to keep trying to perform at my best for myself and for the team,” Pulisic said.
“The outside opinions don’t matter as much to me as to what’s in the team and myself and the people who care about me. So I’m just going to keep working and do my best and not worry about it.”
Pulisic now heads into USMNT duty this week ahead of Concacaf Nations League matches against Cuba and Canada on Oct. 11th and 15th respectively. After registering his fourth assist of the season in all competitions, Pulisic is eager to play a role for Gregg Berhalter’s side as he tries to translate his weekend performance over to the inaugural competition.
“Yeah, I’m definitely excited,” Pulisic said. “When I go there I definitely want to go in and get minutes and just gain more international experience. It can only help me here.”