Thomas Tuchel Admits Christian Pulisic Has Bench Role Only at Chelsea

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We held off on pushing the panic button, when it comes to the status of Christian Pulisic at Chelsea FC, but now we must reconsider. Since Thomas Tuchel, who managed Pulisic previously at Borussia Dortmund, took over the Blues the young American has only played 134 total minutes out of 810 possible.

While Pulisic did miss the game on Super Bowl Sunday for personal reasons, and a little bit of additional time, due to a minor injury, that statistic still speaks volumes. It sends a clear message- Tuchel sees Pulisic as a benchwarmer only.

He came on only in added time yesterday, a 2-0 win over Everton that kept Tuchel undefeated since he took over Chelsea. After the match, Tuchel was asked about Pulisic and his lack of playing time. When the German responded, he officially confirmed what we already know- he perceives the 22-year-old to be strictly bench material.

“I cannot say anything other than positive things about him,” Tuchel said.

“Maybe his problem is that I know from Dortmund how strong he is from the bench. I think he started only in the cup game and in the end that is my responsibility and my fault. But like I said, it is a bit unfair but I know how good he is and what an impact he can have in 20-30 mins. He was unlucky in the last games. It is not a lack of trust or lack of quality. It is maybe just to be a bit patient.”

Doesn’t sound like a fair way to treat the team’s best player during Project Restart. Pulisic, who has drawn a lot of comparisons to Eden Hazard, helped lead Chelsea to a top four finish with his goals and assists in the summer, but Tuchel has made it clear, he thinks the most expensive American in history is strictly bench material.

These quotes basically say, it doesn’t really matter how well you perform in training, you’re still relegated to just coming off the bench.

Pulisic isn’t the only one, as Tuchel went on to say. It’s always a numbers game for places in the Chelsea team, especially when they’re nearly fully fit as a squad (like they are now).

“We have, for example, another guy which I would love to mention which is Emerson who suffers from bad decisions against him from me, who does not play but is an amazing guy and trains at the highest level,” Tuchel continued.

“Never lets the team down from his mentality. This was a super hard decision today to have him out of the squad. The same with Tammy [Abraham]. It is like this and tells us we have a strong group and guys have to keep on fighting. There is no other way.”

Tuchel’s excuses for benching Pulisic have evolved since he took over the southwest London club.

Early on, he said the Hershey, Pennsylvania native had to sit because he’s aware of his abilities as a player from their Dortmund days. The truth is, Pulisic doesn’t fit his 3-4-2-1 system, and the tactical switch that came with the managerial change has left Pulisic SOL.

So what does that mean for his future? Well, it’s clear now that it’s in Pulisic’s best interests to try and get a transfer out, to a team that better appreciates his talents and abilities.

Tuchel did just say last month that he wants to keep Pulisic at the club, but we all got to eat right, and for a footballer that means getting first team minutes somewhere else.

This just doesn’t seem to be working and everyone needs to take care of their interests.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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Comments

  1. Its unfair to bench our young best player pullusic, for favour of other players, we dont want to repet De bruyne & Salah mistakes.

  2. Pullisic is the best playear in the earth now we dont want to lose him, we hear yestaday several clubs like manchester, liverpool & Beyern monitoring his situation at chelsea.

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  1. […] the last game, Monday night’s win over Everton, Tuchel made it clear that Pulisic is only a bench player in his eyes. Can’t really ask for a clearer signal than this when deciding, with apologies to The Clash […]

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