Christian Pulisic 'thrilled' with return to Chelsea starting XI

Christian Pulisic has been ‘thrilled’ with his Chelsea return following ‘smart’ comeback from ankle injury… with midfielder insisting he can play as a false nine after being deployed there by Thomas Tuchel in demolition of Juventus

  • Christian Pulisic played 72 minutes for Chelsea in their thrashing of Juventus 
  • It was the 23-year-old American’s first start for the Blues since mid-August 
  • He insisted not rushing his comeback has allowed him to work his way back 
  • Pulisic insists he is happy to play as the false nine if Thomas Tuchel so chooses 

Christian Pulisic admits he was ‘thrilled’ to return to Chelsea’s starting XI in their 4-0 hammering of Juventus, and believes he has been rewarded for not rushing his comeback from injury.

Pulisic played 72 minutes for the Blues against the Serie A giants as they ensured their defence of their European crown will go into 2022 after sealing progression into the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday night. 

It was the first time the 23-year-old – who came off the bench to score in the Blues’ 3-0 win at Leicester last weekend – was named in Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI since their opening league game of the season against Crystal Palace, a game in which he also netted. 

Christian Pulisic was ‘thrilled’ to return to Chelsea’s starting XI in their win against Juventus

Pulisic was named in the starting XI for the first time since mid-August against Crystal Palace

Pulisic then missed the next two months of action with an ankle injury but believes his ‘smart’ methods have ensured he has been able to work his way back into the German boss’ plans in recent weeks. 

‘It has been a long couple of months,’ the 23-year-old said after the Blues’ victory at Stamford Bridge. ‘It is tough to not be able to play and doing what I love and help my team.

‘I am thrilled to be back and it is great to be back within the team. I would say, as far as fitness, I am close to where I want to be but that I can still improve and that comes with minutes.

The 23-year-old missed two months following an ankle injury suffered on international duty

‘I played it quite smart in how I came back with not too much too soon. It has been really good and I am happy with the way I feel right now.’

Pulisic eventually made his comeback from injury with cameos against Malmo and Burnley at the start of this month before netting at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

However on his first start since mid-August, USA international Pulisic was deployed in an unfamiliar role as he led the line as the false nine against Massimiliano Allegri’s men.

After cameos against Malmo and Burnley, he came off the bench to score against Leicester

Tuchel was not prepared to risk Romelu Lukaku – who was an unusued substitute having just returned from an ankle problem himself –  but Pulisic insists it is a role he is ‘happy’ to fulfil in the future.

On how he adjusted to his new position, Pulisic added: ‘As far as the false nine role, I think I can play in a lot of the attacking positions within this team.

‘I was in a slightly different role. I am not on the ball as much as I usually am or able to use some of my strengths but I think it is a position that I can play.

‘I can create a lot of space for my team-mates and I am happy to play there as well.’

Pulisic insists he is happy to play as a false nine as he did against Leonardo Bonucci and Co

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