Christian Pulisic made his first start in the Thomas Tuchel-era at Chelsea last week, but ended up as a spectator for the entirety of Monday’s league victory over Newcastle United.
Pulisic was an unused substitute at Stamford Bridge as the Blues defeated the Magpies 2-0 to move to fourth place in the league table. It was a shocking decision by Tuchel to keep the 22-year-old on the bench for the entirety of Monday’s victory and the German answered why the U.S. Men’s National Team star wasn’t used in the closing stages.
“Today, the first change was already made in the first half from injury and Christian was a very tight decision if he starts again after the cup game, or if he comes on from the bench,” Tuchel said post match in an interview with reporters.
“We decided for another eleven to start. Unfortunately, we only had three changes which makes it very difficult to give time to the players, to let everybody play, and to have an impact with the changes of fresh legs. That makes it difficult and the third change we didn’t want to use too early.”
Chelsea used a pair of first-half goals from forwards Timo Werner and Olivier Giroud to ease its way to an eventual home win, while Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount also featured in the Blues attack.
Despite Tuchel taking over for Frank Lampard, Pulisic has struggled to replicate his overall impact from his first season in London, recording only one assist in 163 minutes of action in two different competitions. Pulisic could’ve been used to kill off the Magpies on Monday night, but instead watched as Reece James and N’Golo Kante were used as second-half substitutions.
“During the match, we did what we normally do which is to only change to win the match,” Tuchel said. “He deserves to start, or to come in but I could only use three guys. I hope he keeps on going and he will make an important impact for us in the future.”
Pulisic continues to have the backing from his manager going forward, especially with the team on a good run of form and set to return to European action next week.
Chelsea faces off with struggling Southampton in league play on Saturday before traveling to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of its Champions League Round of 16 tie next week.