Christian Pulisic says he’s found life difficult being in and out of Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI but is ‘on the right path’ to turning the situation around at Chelsea.
The 22-year-old forward was arguably Chelsea’s standout player towards the end of last season under Frank Lampard and broke the deadlock in the side’s FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal, his 11th goal of the campaign in all competitions.
But Pulisic hobbled off with a hamstring just four minutes into the second half at Wembley and has badly struggled for form and fitness this term, scoring just once in the Premier League against Leeds United back in December.
There has even been speculation circulating that Pulisic could be on his way out of Stamford Bridge, with Manchester United and Liverpool reportedly monitoring the situation ahead of the summer transfer window.
However, Tuchel has repeatedly played down these rumours and Pulisic insists he will ‘continue to work hard’ to become a key player and end the season on a high.
‘It hasn’t been the easiest thing,’ Pulisic told reporters ahead of USMNT’s friendly with Jamaica.
‘Obviously, I’m a guy who always wants to play, but I think I’m on a really good path.
‘I love to take on challenges. I love to, not prove people wrong, but prove myself right in a way. So I’ll just continue to work hard.
‘Coming into camp, I’m really just excited to get more minutes and play for my country.
‘Regardless of what’s happening at the club level, I’m just thrilled to be here and I’m excited to represent this crest again.’
Pulisic acknowledges that he will have to ‘earn’ his place in Tuchel’s side, just as he did last season with former manager Lampard.
‘I was in a similar situation, I think, when I first came to Chelsea, so I had to work my way and earn my position in the team and to finally get some minutes,’ he added.
‘I feel like I did that and I feel like I’m basically going out there and trying to do the same thing now.
‘I feel very confident in my form right now and the way I’m feeling and playing, so I think I’m on a good path.’
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter admits Pulisic’s situation has been far from ideal but feels the winger’s man-of-the-match performance against Sheffield United was a sign of things to come.
‘Ideally you’d want every player to come into camp in top form, but it’s not always possible though,’ Berhalter said.
‘These are things that we do take into consideration and we are thinking about.
‘What I would say is we also want to create the type of environment here that the players enjoy coming into, and sometimes this can almost be like a kickstart for the player, and it is the case for Christian on this trip. We’re so excited to have him in camp.
‘I know he has the resiliency to keep going and I know it’s a matter of time before he breaks through.
‘He’s a fantastic player, and his qualities will show through, as they did the last game in the FA Cup that we saw.’
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