Christian Pulisic is probably the biggest loser of the coaching change at Chelsea so far. Thomas Tuchel hardly uses the 22-year-old American, at the same time there are rumors of an early departure. On Wednesday (9 p.m. in LIVETICKER) Pulisic and Chelsea will face Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 (first leg 1-0).
When Thomas Tuchel took over as coach at Chelsea FC at the end of January, he already knew two of his new players from before: he had only lost the Champions League final against FC Bayern Munich with central defender Thiago Silva last summer, he had Christian Pulisic quite a bit Helped to make his professional debut at Borussia Dortmund exactly five years earlier and then trained for a year and a half.
What initially appeared to be an advantage for the now 22-year-old American turned into a disadvantage. “Maybe Christian’s problem is that I know from Dortmund how strong he is from the bench,” said Tuchel, who only replaced Pulisic in Dortmund in over half of his appearances. “I know what influence he can have in the last 20 or 30 minutes of a game.”
In fact, Tuchel banned Pulisic from the starting XI as one of his first acts at Chelsea. While the winger played through all of the last five Premier League games under Frank Lampard, Pulisic either never came in the first nine under his successor or came off the bench – but without having too much influence on the games.
Pulisic only celebrated his starting eleven debut in the Premier League under Tuchel on Saturday in a 0-0 win against Leeds United, previously he had only started in the 1-0 win in the League Cup against FC Barnsley. Pulisic played in a mix of 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-3 on the right wing and showed an average performance. Up until the substitution in the middle of the second half, you could tell that he was playing, especially from Tuchel’s permanent verbal instructions from the edge of the field.
Chelsea FC under Tuchel: Top at the back, looking up front
The fact that Tuchel has not yet found a well-rehearsed regular team, but rather revolves lively both in terms of personnel and tactics, makes his short deployment time particularly astonishing. In the ten Premier League games since he took office, he made a total of 39 changes to the starting lineup, more than any other coach in the league during this period.
Tuchel has a large selection, especially in the offensive area: With Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and Pulisic, he has eight top-class players for three or four positions. In the 3-4-3 system, right-back Reece James occasionally played on the right flank, replacing Pulisic against Leeds.
While the defensive has stabilized since Tuchel took office (only two goals conceded in twelve unbeaten competitive games) and the team is generally much more dominant, there is still room for improvement in the offensive game despite the top-class options (only 13 goals). Timo Werner is better, but still unsuccessful in the end. Kai Havertz was injured in the meantime, was recently in the starting line-up twice in a row and at least showed good approaches.
Just like the two newcomers last summer, Pulisic also needed a longer adjustment period after moving from Dortmund to Chelsea for 64 million euros the year before. At first he was not recognized in the team bus, then he showed mixed performances on the pitch. “Of course the nerves play a role,” he said later. “It’s like going to a new school.”
Despite the current contract until 2024, rumors of a possible departure from Pulisics in the coming summer have emerged. Manchester United, Liverpool FC and FC Bayern were won by the Daily Mail associated with him – while Chelsea should seek Bayern’s Kingsley Coman, who can be used in the same positions as Pulisic.