Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has set the record straight over RB Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch’s comments about Christian Pulisic.
The American coach said: “Even Frank Lampard, when I spoke to him in preseason a year ago now, I was talking to him about having Christian Pulisic and he was kind of like, ‘Yeah, he’s got a lot to learn so we’ll see how he does’.
“I could see right away that Lampard’s idea of Pulisic was shaped a lot by the fact that he was American and not that his football education came a lot from what has happened in Germany. Since then, I think Lampard has learned that Pulisic is a lot better than he gave him credit for.”
Lampard. who watched Pulisic open his goalscoring account this season in Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Krasnodar, said: “I did read those comments.
“I was surprised that Jesse read my mind as well as I did. It was a game against Salzburg when Christian scored twice in pre-season. I said it was exciting to see how he’d develop with us but Jesse put it across a little differently.
“Maybe Jesse knows the feeling of American managers coming into Europe. I played in America for 18 months and will never underestimate the desire those players have.
“Christian has that and incredible talent so it was never in doubt for me. I understand the rigours of it.
“It’s the toughest league in the world to play. What Christian did was find his feet quickly and had a great breakthrough season. His performance was massively impressive.
“He’ll get better and better because he is a young player. I never doubted him. Important for me to put that straight.”
Meanwhile, Lampard has singled out Hakim Ziyech for praise after the winger scored against Krasnodar on his full debut for the club.
The Moroccan has come off the bench for the draws against Southampton (3-3), Sevilla (0-0) and Man Utd (0-0).
But he got his first start on Wednesday night and helped Chelsea run out convincing 4-0 winners. They now have four points out of six from their first two Champions League games.
Callum Hudson-Odoi gave the Blues a first-half lead. And goals from Timo Werner, Ziyech and Pulic in the final 15 minutes wrapped up an excellent night.
Lampard was full of compliments about the 27-year-old, who signed from Ajax.
“Hakim Ziyech has worked really hard to be fit, and I was very excited to get his quality into the team,” said Lampard.