A pundit has blasted Christian Pulisic for his criticism of Thomas Tuchel, as the manager is already going through a hard time following his Chelsea sacking.
Tuchel took charge of Chelsea in January last year and guided them to the Champions League trophy during his first six months in charge. The Blues also won the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup under Tuchel’s guidance.
Chelsea have had a decent start to the new campaign, winning three of their first six Premier League matches. However, Tuchel was sacked by the new Chelsea owners on September 7, the day after their shock Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.
It must be noted that Todd Boehly didn’t just sack Tuchel because of this result. He was looking for a new manager who would have a bigger say in factors other than the senior squad, such as the club’s youth setup. Tuchel was unwilling to do this and this is one of the reasons why he was let go.
Nevertheless, Chelsea certainly treated Tuchel harshly. He arrived at Stamford Bridge while Chelsea were in trouble and took them to Champions League glory for only the second time in their history.
Graham Potter left Brighton and soon came in as Tuchel’s replacement. He has coached Chelsea in one match so far, which was a 1-1 UCL draw with Red Bull Salzburg on September 14.
On Tuesday, an excerpt from Pulisic’s upcoming book, ‘Christian Pulisic: My Journey So Far’, was released. It included the player’s criticism of Tuchel for not starting him in the UCL semi-final against Real Madrid in May 2021.
“What happened before that game was hugely disappointing for me,” Pulisic wrote.
Christian Pulisic left ‘disappointed’ by Tuchel selection
“l’d had a really good first leg performance and our following match was against Fulham in the league. Tuchel told me that he was resting me for the second leg and as a result I didn’t play a single minute in the Fulham game.
“Then on match day of the second semi, Tuchel tells me he’s changed his mind and he’s going with Kai [Havertz]. I honestly was dumbfounded and very disappointed. I thought that I’d earned a start and, most importantly, he had assured me previously I was going to start.”
On his goal against Real in the semi-final first leg, Pulisic added: “As I take off on the run, I hear Thomas Tuchel yelling from the sideline, ‘Christian, stay in the pocket, don’t make the run!’
“But I just had the feeling I’d find the space and get on the end of the pass, so I continued the run.”
Pundit Noel Whelan doesn’t think Pulisic should have released these comments so soon after Tuchel’s sacking by Chelsea.
Star slammed for Tuchel comments
During an interview with Football Insider, Whelan criticised the American by saying: “He’s got to let this go. Why would you come out and say this now? Managers make choices, players just have to live with that.
“It’s very easy to come out and say it now when Tuchel has gone. He needs to be professional, work hard on getting into the first team and show what you’ve got to the new manager.
“He’s just kicking a man when he’s down. Tuchel probably made the right decision, as well, to be honest.
“The game has been and gone – there’s no point bringing this all up now.”
Pulisic has a right to feel aggrieved at being left out of the semi-final second leg after scoring in the first leg of the tie. However, Tuchel’s selection worked as Chelsea ran out 2-0 winners, thanks to goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount.
Funnily enough, it was Pulisic who set up Mount for Chelsea’s second goal on the night, after he had come off the bench.
Whelan is right about Pulisic needing to switch focus. He must get on the right side of new boss Potter to try and get back to his best, after an underwhelming spell in west London so far.