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Tuchel on Pulisic’s lack of playing time: “He just has to be patient”

Christian Pulisic’s struggle to break back into the Chelsea starting lineup continued on Monday, though his manager preached patience in the wake of the Blues’ latest victory.

Pulisic came on in the 89th minute of Chelsea’s eventual 2-0 Premier League victory over Everton at Stamford Bridge on Monday. Since Tuchel’s arrival as Frank Lampard’s replacement, the U.S. Men’s National Team star has only started once in all competitions, a match against second-tier Barnsley in the FA Cup.

Pulisic has failed to start in league play for the Blues since Tuchel arrived, settling for a role off the bench while Chelsea has posted an unbeaten record under their new manager. Tuchel made it clear that he still believes in the player he gave his professional debut to when both were at Borussia Dortmund.

“Maybe Christian’s problem is I know from Dortmund how strong he is from the bench,” Tuchel said post match on Monday. “I think he started only in the cup game and in the end that’s my responsibility and my fault.”

“It’s a bit unfair because I know what an impact he can have in 20 or 30 minutes. He was a bit unlucky in the last games but there’s no lack of trust or quality. He just has to be a bit patient.”

Pulisic enjoyed a breakout stretch last season, emerging after the Coronavus pandemic-induced Premier League hiatus totaling 10 goals and seven assists in all competitions. He scored in the FA Cup Final and also played a major role in the Blues qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. Since then, his playing time and production have dropped, despite the club riding an 11-match unbeaten run in all competitions, taking a major step towards a berth in the UCL quarterfinals.

With many players to choose from on both ends of the pitch, Tuchel will have plenty more roster decisions to make, especially with Chelsea in three separate competitions. Pulisic’s next opportunity to feature will be on Saturday at Leeds United before the Blues host Atletico Madrid in their Round of 16 second leg at home.


  1. Until Chelsea starts losing dont expect any changes for Pulisic. I think putting him in for 5 minutes is insulting. I also wonder if Chelsea is trying to move him? They have a lot of money tied up in him and they arent gonna tie money up for a 5 minute player. If Im Pulisic, I would keep working hard for awhile but if things dont change, I’d ask to be traded. He will not develop if playing as a bit player. BTW, I only watch Chelsea games to see Pulisic play. If he goes off or Chelsea puts its 3d sub in and its not him…. Click

  2. There two trends- one is somewhat troubling for Pulisic, the other is really troubling.
    Lampard was playing more offensive-minded players and losing and Tuchel brought players in from the cold to improve the defense and grind out Morinho-like wins for Chelsea. Pulisic could still theoretically find a starting role as of the three upfront players.

    The more negative trend is that Tuchel apparently rates all the other offensive options, including the zombie Germans and the players he has publicly berated for lack of effort, ahead of Pulisic.

    I don’t see how #2 changes without Tuchel losing a bunch of games, apparently. So Pulisic should absolutely explore other options.

    At this rate, Tuchel will be brought back for next season with the hope of more 1-0 games toward a title contender

  3. I question whether Tuchel has been open minded about the role that CP could play at Chelsea right now. All of his comments either state or strongly imply that he sees him as the same player he was 2 to 5 years ago. And players change. Tuchel may be right, but there appears to me to be a bias based on his statements.

    Here’s an analogy. After college, some people become paralegals with an eye towards going to law school. If they go to law school, many former paralegals chose not to begin practicing as lawyers at the same place they were a paralegal. Why? Because many lawyers who worked with them previously and are now their peers always see them as paralegals, not as newly minted lawyers. There’s a mental block and stigma. It similar here. Tuchel sees him as a super sub off the bench because that’s how he played him 5 years ago. It’s not clear to me that he can only be effective as a super sub, as last season proved. But if you don’t start him and give him chances to break the mold you’ve mentally boxed him into, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    Again, Pulisic may not be playing as well as others and thus not starting. But that’s not what I’m hearing. What I’m hearing is this super sub business.

  4. Sadly enough, Tuchel was brought in to get the best out of the highly priced Werner and Havertz, because he’s knows the German player well. Abramovich will not want to be made to feel like his spending spree went for not, so with that said Tuchel will give those 2 every opportunity to be successful while he’s there! Pulisic is in a weird spot because like others have said, Chelsea are winning so there will be no urgency to switch things up too much and Tuchel knows CP pretty well so he can always say that I know how to use him best from our days at Dortmund! Hopefully that all changes because the USMNT will need our most explosive player to be playing at a top level this summer and into next fall!

  5. Chelsea is having a good run. Until that changes or injuries occur, don’t expect to see Pulisic in the starting lineup very often.

    Tuchel and lots of other coaches triy not to fix things that are working. OTOH, Werner is still struggling and that may cause Tuchel to tinker with the front line. He has Giroud, who continues to score goals, despite his last recent coaches sparing use of his talent.

    With Mount, Ziyech, Havertz and Werner all players who can play a wing position well (and 3 of them are playing well right now), Pulisic will need to show very well to move back into the starting lineup.

  6. Does Tuchel think his comments are complimentary? What twenty something footballer is going to see them as not being insulting? Pulisic is not a teen anymore. Tuchel is on a roll but the EPL has a way of humbling coaches, especially those mid season replacements

  7. All that interview was was the sound of the Chelsea machine spitting him out.
    Trust. What kind of trust is there when all he hears in interviews is about your pre conceived bench role based on your time at Dortmund years ago. Between now and then, he did indeed prove himself as a 90 min, important player for Chelsea. Tell me, which one of your German or English stars scored a hat trick in the prem during their first fall in the league. With all the pressure of the world on him. Before that, surely didn’t get any “go gettem, it will come, son” praise like Werner has gotten. Patience. Germans and English, patience is on the manager. American, patience is on the player. Hey, I guess it was progress today as CP got 5 minutes more time than Ziyech today.

    • I’m with you KC…his game has evolved since the Dortmund days…it’s as if that’s all the coach wants to remember…maybe Tuchel was “forced” to play Pulisic at Dortmund because the club was always planning to sell him….maybe I sound crazy but this box that he has Pulisic in now stinks….

    • Yall are missing the obvious here. Tuchel is winning right now. The players ahead of Pulisic are playing well. When the team is on a good run the manager is unlikely to make major changes. Tuchel is simply saying he thinks Pulisic is a good player also, but right now the other guys are above him. There are plenty of games left to be played and Pulisic will get his chance. It is still very early days for the new manager, so no need to push the panic button

      • Exactly. You can’t really question his decisions when looking at his record with Chelsea. He’ll get back one way or another.

      • the unmistakable Ronaldinho, you are correct about one thing, since Tuchel is unbeaten in 11 straight games, he, like other Manager’s, will not make major changes, hence, Tuchel gets a pass, for the moment, on Pulisic…where you are wrong, and Tuchel’s approach to selection of players is invalidated, is that he keeps selecting werner even though he has sucked big donkey cajones and elected to start haavertz yesterday and haavertz has been worse than werner…let’s just call things as they are, Tuchel does not rate Puli as a starter for Chelsea…time for Puli’s agent to find him his next destination.

      • Chelsea is just good enough in there winning streak. Maxing out at two goals with the exception of FA matches. A lot of 1-0 matches with all that talent.
        Tuchel does have Chelsea closing out matches very well. By maintaining fitness, energy, and discipline

      • I’m not overlooking the fact that Chelsea is winning…I’m disagreeing with his logic behind not playing pulisic…I know managers are less likely to change…i just think that the winning wouldn’t change with pulisic in the line up…chelsea winning has more to do with them being more organized as a group and being more settled defensively…it’s not because werner/havertz/zyiech are playing lights out….

      • Just because havertz, Werner, Hudson odoi are above pulisic today does not mean they will be tomorrow. It’s a very small sample size.and pulisic has not been fully fit the entire time either right? Chelsea has 5 very good guys for 2 positions in the current setup. He undoubtedly has work to do but saying he isn’t rated or needs to move is just wrong. The guys currently above him are no slouches and he has got plenty of time to work his way back into the lineup.

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