Thomas Tuchel Says Christian Pulisic is Still Part of His Plans

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Ahead of tomorrow’s clash against Leeds United, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was asked about the role and future of Christian Pulisic at the club.

The last time this topic came up, following the win over Everton on Monday night where Pulisic only played a few little minutes, Tuchel said the American is only a bench player in his eyes. In this media availability, ahead of the weekend fixture, he gave a more positive outlook on Pulisic’s role and future with the club.

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Sat March 13, midday GMT, Elland Road

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Pulisic has only made one start under Tuchel and played just 137 minutes combined. The German boss was asked about what would happen is Pulisic doesn’t see his role increase, and asks for a transfer request? Would the managr stand in his way?

“[There are] a lot of ifs in your question,” the Blues boss answered.

“If he starts tomorrow, if he does brilliantly and if he starts again against Atletico [Madrid next Wednesday] and if he scores again two goals, maybe he is the captain next year! I don’t know.”

“I know what you mean but this is too far ahead. We have so many games and he is in my plans. He is an important player and has the potential to be decisive for us from the bench and as a beginner.

“Is it necessary that he can prove it? Yes. So, this is my job and his job is to be ready like everybody else and when comes the moment, you have to be ready. This is what you sign up for in a club like Chelsea. There is no difference between Christian and everybody else.”

Tuchel’s explanations for why Pulisic isn’t playing have evolved over the relatively short time that he’s been at the club. However, he maintains that the 22-year-old is part of the plan. If that is really the case, well then we need to see it, and now.

Of course, being a Chelsea player means partaking in the hyper-competitiveness for places in the team. They’re a giant club, with a huge payroll, and every position is tough to become the first choice.

“When you sign and play for Chelsea,” Tuchel continued.

“It is part of the job description as a player to be patient and impatient at the same time. Impatient because all of my players are competitors, all of them want to play every single minute and this is what they show every day: the hunger, the desire. This is what Christian shows.

“At the same time, when you are not selected by the coach, you have to be patient to not lose confidence, keep on going and be ready at any time because it can happen any time. In the beginning, he was a bit unlucky because we knew how much of an impact he can have from the bench and we used this power and strength from him.”

Chelsea’s No. 10 has had a rough, injury plagued season. However, he was the club’s best player during Project Restart, and he can be that again, if given the proper chance.

“When it was possible for him to start, around the Sheffield [United] and Barnsley games, one game he was unavailable, the other came a bit too soon. The cup game against Barnsley was a difficult game for him,” Tuchel continued.

“So it was not too easy but in the end it is the credit for the players always and the quality from the players that shine on the pitch.

“If you turn it around, it is also the duty of the players to show up and really earn that they play and this is what Christian does. It can happen any minute, any game. At some point, it is just this. I have nothing to complain [about]. I feel in the last days very positive, doing the best out of his situation. This is what he can do.”

I guess we’ll see.

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 NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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