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Lampard: “I never doubted Pulisic’s abilities”

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Christian Pulisic had big expectations when he signed with English Premier League side Chelsea, but the American lived up to them in his first season as he played a vital role in the Blues top four finish.

Now Pulisic is in his second season in Frank Lampard’s squad and is coming off his first goalscoring appearance in the UEFA Champions League of the new campaign. Lampard got to watch Pulisic develop nicely in his first season at Stamford Bridge while also finishing with 10 goals and seven assists across all competitions.

Despite previous remarks from Red Bull Salzburg manager and former U.S. Men’s National Team player Jesse Marsch that Lampard did not rate Pulisic right off the bat, the former England and Chelsea legend responded to those comments in full confidence for his player.

“I played in America for 18 months and I would never underestimate the desire that American players have to learn and improve and take on information and understand the technical side of the game,” Lampard said in a press conference Thursday. “When you have that, which Christian has, along with incredible talent, it was never in doubt for me.”

“It’s clearly the toughest league in the world to come and play in at a young age from a different league. Some of the greatest players in Premier League history have felt that.”

Pulisic put together his best professional season yet in 2019-20, playing in every competition possible for the Blues. Despite some injury bumps along the way, the 21-year-old became the second American to score a hat trick in Premier League play and the first to score in an FA Cup Final.

The USMNT star missed the early parts of the new season through injury, but since has jumped right back into the fold in Lampard’s squad. He made an immediate impact off the bench in Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Russian club Krasnodar by winning one penalty kick, setting up a break for another Chelsea goal, and scoring his first of the season in stoppage time.

Lampard has been able to see Pulisic up front for over one year now and admits he never doubted the American’s ability after what he achieved at Dortmund.

“What Christian did was find his feet very quickly and have a breakthrough season where he produced more goals and assists than he has done before so I thought his performance last season was massively impressive and he will keep getting better and I never doubted it in the first place,” Lampard said. “As a manager, I never doubted him and it’s important for me to put that straight.”

Pulisic now faces competition in the Chelsea attack with Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and Ziyech all arriving from other European clubs this summer. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Olivier Giroud, and Tammy Abraham all remain key parts of the club as well, with Chelsea fighting for titles in both the Premier League and Champions League.

Chelsea now visits Burnley on Saturday at Turf Moor, the same venue where Pulisic bagged his hat trick last season. With the American coming off a good cameo off the bench in midweek, he could get the starting nod as Chelsea tries to rebound from back-to-back league draws.

Comments

  1. It wasn’t about rating CP, but how quickly he could adapt. Marsch thought it was funny given that CP had spent 3 years in the Bundesliga. I mean, has Lampard said anything about how quickly Werner or Havertz could adapt? They also came from the Bundesliga, and from teams at a slightly lower level than Dortmund.

    Reply
    • That’s not exactly fair though
      Havertz last season 18g 9a
      Werner last season 34g 13a
      Pulisic last season at Dortmund 7g 6a

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      • Huh? Did you even read what Marsch said?

        He thought it strange that Lampard questioned Pulisic’s ability to quickly adapt from the level he played at previously, as if that level wasn’t technically up to the level of the Premier League. That previous level was the Bundesliga.

        Since that was totally illogical, then Marsch drew the conclusion that Lampard didn’t rate Pulisic, because he was American. Since we haven’t heard Lampard question the ability to adapt of his recent Bundesliga signings due to the technical level, then we can only assume Marsch was correct in his read of Lampard’s comments.

    • Clearly Frank misjudged Pulisic but to draw equivalencies between Havertz and Werner that were stars in the Bundesliga to Pulisic who was mostly a reserve in his final season isn’t fair.

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      • “never doubted him?” why was he a sub his first league game? why was he a healthy unused sub all september 2019? why was he subbing his first games back after that disuse? and for that matter if marsch is being honest he said last year he had things to learn. which is an implication of doubt. to me he doesn’t rate him. he was not lampard’s signing. you by negative implication point at “produced more goals and assists than he has done before.” but you worded it different as the others were more productive in Germany. thing being, they came the year AFTER. they didn’t come the same year. so he already knows pulisic is EPL productive when he goes back to the well for more players. he is arguably still trying to upgrade. he still doubts. why, even after he produced? maybe marsch is right. in defending a player with a track record when being accused of anti american bias, he implies we are technically sloppy and tactically naive but expresses we are willing learners. to be good learners you have to have something to learn. to be deficient. he basically admits what marsch said. if he wasn’t biased or concerned about americans then he just says “never doubted him” and if it was just numbers he was worried about he leaves it at “he produced” (and doesn’t sign his competition too). nope, in response to an accusation that he underrates americans he implies a reason to do so in his own response. guilty as charged. now, to be fair, he seems to want a lot of production from the position, but that’s judging the end product. marsch’s point is that he slow walked pulisic at the beginning, before he knew what he had, and said he was an american that had things to learn. marsch’s point is he learned the same place a lot of the flourishing next german generation did. he’s not MLS. he signed there at 17. he worked through age group soccer there.

        the real question is whether he’s exposing lampard as biased or insincere. between marsch and i we just poked a lot of holes in his explicit excuses. definitely insincere. also biased? he didn’t rate him before i don’t think — was a marginal guy in the fall last year — and seems surprised what he found as it progressed. however, maybe some of it is numbers, since he keeps trying to replace him. but the new guys who came a year later he already knows what pulisic can do. so learning no longer flies because he has a track record. nor do numbers once he’s done them. numbers might have been pertinent at the start but then pulisic proved him at least somewhat wrong. he tried to replace him anyway, it appears, based on this past window. so deep down he doubts the numbers or wants even bigger ones. while saying he never doubted him. and perhaps because he’s american. hmmm.

      • also, when he’s putting pulisic in the company of those 3 players, he’s saying as a german youth player he was esteemed at that young player level. they are all older than him, but he’s saying he wasn’t treated like a hot mess but rather as someone already putting things together. so he’s calling bull on the idea pulisic had anything to learn the others didn’t. and marsch’s theory is telling. why did lampard doubt “numbers” on a player of similar esteem? and in response he starts talking about how he knows american players and they work hard to learn……hmm. fits.

  2. I call bulls– on Lampard.
    There has been a clear hesitancy of UK (not EPL – UK) coaches not trusting US players joining their team. I go back to Dempsey who was benched each time a new coach would come to Fulham or Tottenham

    Reply
    • exactly. this is one reason i do not take club situations abroad as gospel evaluation of talent or form for NT selection purposes. he slow-walked christian into the team behind inferior options. he figured out what he had and reconfigured. i think we’d be better served by a more stable lasting sense of “talent” independent of temporary subjective opinions of coaches who might change their mind or get fired before the season is over. unless they come to the NT and suck then we shouldn’t assume a player who was doing good magically became sucky just because he made the wrong transfer or the coaching situation changed underneath him. worse, to me, that’s what we pay our own coaching staff for, is to do their own scouting. accepting outside opinion constantly is basically delegating, putting your feet up, but drawing a paycheck still.

      Reply
      • Actually pay attention instead of just writing your own narrative. Berhalter did several interviews in August and September where he shared what the staff does on a weekly basis. Sunday and Monday each staff member has a group of players that they are watching their matches to analyze and rate them, Tuesday the staff convenes and goes over all of their reports on each player. Wed and Thurs. planning and prepping for future opponents, Friday is video conference day review weeks work and planning for the next. Your idea that their just reading the Americans Abroad list on Sunday night and setting the roster is absolutely absurd.

      • six in one hand, half dozen in the other. the general talent of player x doesn’t (and shouldn’t) change based on a weekly club form report. and what you miss is who the club coach plays each week, how much, etc., is precisely the sort of lazy delegation i suggested.

  3. I still don’t get all the new signings. They have 7 top drawer offensive players for 3, maybe 4 positions and they needed defensive help.

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    • he doesn’t impress me much. they went from 3rd under sarri to 4th last season to 10th this year so far. one sign of a bad coach is with similar personnel performance erodes after the switch. i also agree with your assessment of where it has gone wrong, the GF held steady year to year — and they continue to score this season — but they ship a lot more on defense post sarri. we’re getting upset more and also i think when you ship more goals the tight ones start going more consistently the wrong way. so, yeah, i get amused at people taking seriously the opinion of a fairly inexperienced coach who is eroding the standing of the team. kind of like i was underwhelmed by favre before him frittering away a midseason lead over bayern the season before at dortmund with pulisic relegated to a bench role and then sold. do your own leg work. don’t assume pulisic is “off” in any way based on how his club coach treats him.

      Reply

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