'Not on the ball as much': Chelsea star says he didn't get the ball as much as usual vs Juventus
Christian Pulisic felt he failed to experience the same kind of possession as normal whilst playing as false nine for Chelsea against Juventus last night.
Speaking after the Blues 4-0 Champions League humbling of the Italians, Pulisic admitted he would’ve appreciated more of the ball in his new role.
The American started a club game for the first time since August yesterday, following his recovery from an ankle injury.
He began the match through the middle of Chelsea’s front three, due to the absence of Romelu Lukaku and Kai Havertz.
Thomas Tuchel hinted pre-match that he would put a different task upon the forward’s shoulders.
“For me he (Pulisic) can play in any positions of these three. He can play in the middle as a number nine,” said the German coach.
Admittedly, it was not his finest evening a Blue shirt, an understandable reaction to featuring in a freshly adopted position.
New dog, new tricks
Pulisic lasted 72 minutes, which in the context of his stuttered season, was a success in itself.
But how did the 23-year-old feel about his own performance on Tuesday?
“I think I can play in a lot of the attacking positions within this team. Today was a slightly different role,” said the United States international about his duty as a fake striker.
“Maybe not on the ball as much as I usually am or able to use some of my strengths.
“But I think it’s a position that I can play and you can create a lot of space for your teammates.
“I’m happy to play there as well.”
Getting Pulisic up and running
For a player who is a regular to the treatment room, being deployed anywhere on the pitch is probably a bonus.
Yet, with the return of Timo Werner and soon-to-be Lukaku, Pulisic’s days as a false nine are potentially already behind him.
Opportunities will continue to arise, however.
Chelsea’s fixture schedule is going to come thick and fast over the next few months, so all hands will be needed on deck.
Beginning with their next Premier League outing, a visit to Stamford Bridge from Manchester United, who themselves enjoyed European victory recently.