Christian Pulisic finally earned his first English Premier League start under Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, but the American winger wasn’t able to help keep the Blues from dropping points.
Chelsea played Leeds United to a 0-0 draw on Saturday, with Pulisic starting and playing 68 minutes before being replaced by Reece James.
The U.S. Men’s National Team star completed 21 of 24 passes, and produced three shots, but couldn’t help Chelsea find a winner, though the result at Leeds helped keep Tuchel’s unbeaten record with the Blues intact.
It has been a frustrating stretch for Pulisic since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as manager, having made just one start since his former Borussia Dortmund manager took charge.
Tuchel addressed Pulisic’s situation on Friday, making it clear that Pulisic is very much in his plans, even if he hadn’t been earning regular starters in recent weeks.
“All of my players are competitors. All of them want to play every single minute,” Tuchel said. “This is what they show every day, the hunger and desire. This is what Christian shows. We have so many games, and he is in my plans, and he is an important player. He has the potential to be decisive for us from the bench, and as a beginner.
“Is it necessary that he can prove it? Yes, so this is my job, and his job is to be ready,” Tuchel said. “To be ready like everybody else. And when it comes, the moment, you have to be ready. This is what you sign up for in a club like Chelsea. There’s no difference between Christian and anybody else.”
Chelsea returns to action on Wednesday in a decisive Champions League Round of 16 clash with Atletico Madrid (Chelsea won the first leg, 1-0), and the absence of Mason Mount due to yellow-card suspension increases Pulisic’s chances of earning another start. That said, given the physical demands of Saturday’s draw with Leeds, Pulisic could very well find himself as an option off the bench once more.