Chelsea’s £58m signing Christian Pulisic has voiced his frustration at limited minutes under Frank Lampard to start this campaign, just three months into an encouraging yet patchy start to life in west London for the 21-year-old winger.
It hasn’t been plain sailing for Chelsea in recent months and despite the renewed optimism surrounding their homegrown youngsters, one expensive acquisition isn’t happy with his limited first-team minutes so far this term.
Pulisic completed a £58m move from Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in January, before being loaned back to BVB for the remainder of the 2018/19 season.
Originally viewed as a long-term Eden Hazard replacement on the wings in west London, the Blues beat off competition from multiple clubs across Europe for his services. The American revealed his happiness at joining England’s top-flight and relished the opportunity to feature for one of the world’s best clubs, albeit a side in transition given their two-window transfer ban.
An unused substitute during Chelsea’s 2-0 league win over Brighton in one of the day’s 3pm kick-offs, this marked the third successive Premier League game where the American international has watched from the sidelines throughout.
Despite impressive performances against Liverpool (Super Cup), Norwich and an encouraging display midweek during their 7-1 EFL Cup thrashing over Grimsby Town, he’s understandably unhappy with limited opportunities to settle under new management in a different high-pressure environment that England has to offer.
When quizzed post-match, he told NBC Sports: “Yeah of course, it is very frustrating, but I will continue to work my hardest because I want to play.
On whether he has received specific advice from manager Frank Lampard, he admitted there was “not so much” and it was rather generic, given plenty of competition for places to ponder.
“He said to keep working and I have to improve myself in training, try to get back in the line-up. It is not going to be easy here, but it never was going to.
Lampard meanwhile, has urged patience from supporters and critics for a winger with justified high expectations, despite just turning 21 earlier this month. He believes that Pulisic’s quality will shine through in due course, as he’s still getting settled and adjusting to life at Chelsea.
“It’s normal to have an adaptation and he has shown some good moments. We forget he’s 21 because of the price-tag. We must give him a bit of time to adapt because of youth, change of league and living. We know he has played in the Champions League. Now they are all fit, I have four wingers – they are all different with different pathways.”
Pulisic has alternated between the left and right-hand side of Lampard’s 4-3-3 formation during his four league outings, but with Willian, Pedro and exciting teenage prospect Callum Hudson-Odoi all available for selection, it’ll be interesting to see how the situation unfolds.
There are recurring questions asked of Willian’s indecisiveness and Pedro’s consistency issues, while Hudson-Odoi was long revered as the pair’s successor before Pulisic’s big-money arrival was confirmed. Time will tell, though the harsh reality of Pulisic’s comments is understandable but unlikely to faze him.