Thomas Tuchel is lying when he claims that the lack of Chelsea game time for Christian Pulisic is down to international duty, one pundit has said.
Pulisic moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2019 from Borussia Dortmund. Since then, though, he has only played a bit-part role under former boss Frank Lampard and current incumbent Tuchel.
While a battle for game time has not helped, injuries have made the America international’s struggles more obvious.
This term, Pulisic has played 17 Premier League games. His best spell in the team came in December and January, when he played five 90-minute stints in a row.
Since the start of March, however, Pulisic has managed just one full match. And he has played only 69 minutes in the past six games either side of the international break.
Tuchel recently claimed that “there was a period when he had the confidence and Timo [Werner] had to wait”. The manager added that “things have turned around” and Pulisic’s three games for the USA and subsequent travelling affected him.
According to former USA international Herculez Gomez, though, Brazil star Thiago Silva has proved that Tuchel is covering for the fact that he doesn’t fully trust Pulisic.
“Are you serious? Are you trying to tell me a 23-year-old can’t recover in time? He’s got jet lag?” Gomez told ESPN. “But Thiago Silva is 37 years old, who does 11-plus hour flights to Brazil, or wherever he’s got to go to play in South America, can? Is he alright?
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“No, this is Thomas Tuchel doing what Thomas Tuchel does. If you’re an offensive player, only two of them have really shown that they can be in the trust circle of Thomas Tuchel.
“That’s Mason Mount, and that’s Kai Havertz. Everybody else – [Hakim] Ziyech, get on out of here, [Romelu] Lukaku, get on out of here, Timo Werner, get on out of here, [Callum] Hudson-Odoi, are you even around?
“Christian Pulisic, you’re out of here as well. This is what he does, he makes these players feel uneasy, he makes them wait.
“And Christian Pulisic has been through this before. Not just here, he’s been through it at Dortmund with him. This is par for the course with Thomas Tuchel.”
Pulisic playing Chelsea waiting game
Chelsea have a wealth of options up front, with each star looking to get regular game time this season.
Havertz has nailed down the centre-forward role ahead of Lukaku, who has largely had to settle for a role off the bench.
Lukaku has instead starred in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup and came off the bench in Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League win over West Ham.
Pulisic also came on as a substitute and was in fact the man who got the last-minute winner for the Blues.
As such, he will be raring to start Thursday’s clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
In the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge in November, Pulisic only played 12 minutes.