Christian Pulisic remains an important part of Thomas Tuchel’s plans, the Chelsea head coach has insisted.
Several Chelsea players have responded well to Tuchel replacing Frank Lampard in the dugout in January. However – somewhat surprisingly – Pulisic has not been one of them.
Tuchel gave Pulisic his senior debut back when they were both at Borussia Dortmund. But since reuniting at Stamford Bridge, the German coach has not given as many opportunities to the American winger.
Pulisic is yet to start a Premier League game under Tuchel, and remains stranded on just one league goal so far this season.
He has not been able to kick on from his promising first season at Chelsea. Tuchel must now try to find a way to turn that around.
There have been rumours that Chelsea could look to sell Pulisic in the summer. Such a scenario could attract interest from other Premier League clubs.
For example, Manchester United and Liverpool have been linked with the 22-year-old in recent weeks. However, Tuchel has now sent a stern warning to any potential suitors for Pulisic.
On his lack of gametime, Tuchel said: “When you sign and play for Chelsea, it’s part of the job description to be patient and impatient at the same time. All of my players are competitors and they want to play every minute.
“At the same time, when you’re not selected, you have to stay patient and not lose confidence.
“When it was possible for him to start around Sheffield United and Barnsley, one game came too soon and Barnsley wasn’t easy.
“If you turn it around, it’s the duty of the players to show up and really earn to play. This is what Christian does.
“I feel him in the last days very positive and doing the very best in his situation.”
Pressed further on the exit speculation, Tuchel offered a different perspective and refused to look too far into the future.
He said: “There’s a lot of ifs in your question! If he starts tomorrow and does brilliant, if he starts against Atletico and does two goals, maybe he is the captain.
“I know what you mean but it’s too far ahead. We have many games and he is in my plans.
“He has the potential to be decisive for us from the bench. As a beginner, can he improve it? Yes. But his job is to be ready like everybody else.”
Tuchel denies squad too big
Later in his press conference, Tuchel offered the likes of Pulisic some hope by admitting he has not been able to reward all the players he wants to yet.
The 47-year-old rebuffed claims that his squad is too big, instead claiming he wishes he could use more of his players.
He responded: “It’s the perfect size and it’s a big effort from the medical department we can choose from many players. The only thing I am missing is not having five substitutes to use more of my players.
“I have so many players that I can’t reward. I have been pushing for that at all the clubs I have coached.
“There are players I would like to reward for their effort and attitude but the size of the squad is actually perfect.”
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