Frank Lampard has denied Jesse Marsch’s previous claim that the Chelsea manager didn’t rate Christian Pulisic because he is an American.
The 22-year-old winger had a slow start to his Chelsea career before becoming one of the most influential players for the Blues in the second half of last season.
Pulisic also had to miss the first few games of this season due to a hamstring injury but has since returned to the team and made the starting line-up in three of Chelsea’s last four games.
But according to Red Bull Salzburg manager Marsch, Lampard’s perception played a big role in the former Borussia Dortmund winger’s slow start at Chelsea.
Marsch told Extratime earlier this month: “When I spoke to him [Lampard] in pre-season a year ago now, I was talking to him about having Christian Pulisic and he was kind of like, ‘Yeah, he’s got a lot to learn so we’ll see how he does.’
“I could see right away that Frank Lampard’s idea of Christian Pulisic was shaped a lot by the fact that he was American and not that his football education came a lot from what has happened in Germany.
“Since then, I think Lampard has learned that Pulisic is a lot better than he gave him credit for.”
Asked about Marsch’s claim in his press conference ahead of Premier League fixture against Burnley on Thursday, Lampard insisted otherwise.
Lampard says Christian Pulisic has incredible talent and, like many players in his homeland, a great desire to improve and get the best from his ability. 'He found his feet very quickly and his performance last year was massively impressive. I never doubted Christian.'#BURCHE
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 29, 2020
🗣 "He's recounted the conversation wrong"
Frank Lampard responds to RB Salzburg boss Jesse March's comments that he claimed Frank said he didn't 'rate' Pulisic pic.twitter.com/8qKsIiAjvk
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 29, 2020
The Chelsea boss said that Marsch “recounted the conversation wrong” and added that he “never doubted” Pulisic.
It is never easy to manage a squad full of stars and internationals who want to be in the starting line-up week in week out.
It also makes sense that Lampard wanted to ease Pulisic into the team after coming from a different league and with a concerning fitness record.