Pulisic re­lieved to be fi­nally mak­ing his mark at Chelsea

The National - News - - SPORT - THE NA­TIONAL

Chelsea’s Chris­tian Pulisic ad­mit­ted his hat-trick against Burn­ley on Satur­day gave him a “sense of re­lief”, af­ter a dif­fi­cult start to his time at the Premier League club.

The 21-year-old Amer­i­can in­ter­na­tional – who cost the club £58 mil­lion (Dh273.7m) when they signed him from Borus­sia Dort­mund last sea­son – be­came the youngest Chelsea player to score a hat-trick in the 4-2 win.

Pulisic has osten­si­bly been signed to re­place key play­maker Eden Haz­ard, who left for Real Madrid in the close sea­son, but has taken time to set­tle in.

Satur­day was just his sec­ond start since Au­gust – the other be­ing the League Cup clash with lower league Grimsby

Town – and his first goals for the club in nine ap­pear­ances.

“Of course there is a sense of re­lief,” he said. “You could see that in my emo­tions af­ter the first goal, that re­lief of get­ting my first goal and be­ing able to help my team at this level. It’s re­ally good for me.”

Pulisic be­came the youngest player to cap­tain the United States when he led the side in a Novem­ber 2018 friendly against Italy, aged 20 years and 63 days.

His feat aside, Pulisic said that he had ex­pected to have to bat­tle for a start­ing place de­spite his huge trans­fer fee.

“I wanted to be on the field as much as I could right from the start,” he said.

“That is ev­ery­one’s goal. But I didn’t come here ex­pect­ing ev­ery­thing to be easy and have an easy route and start ev­ery game. “It’s not al­ways that easy. So I came in had to work for my spot just like ev­ery­one does. I’m proud of the jour­ney I’ve had so far.”

Pulisic said the im­por­tant thing was that Chelsea man­ager Frank Lampard – who was not in charge when the club bought him to Stam­ford Bridge – had faith in him.

Lampard had said he de­served a chance af­ter he came off the bench in mid­week to set up Michy Bat­shuayi’s late win­ner in the 1-0 vic­tory over Ajax in Wed­nes­day’s Cham­pi­ons League match.

“[Lampard] be­lieves in me and he’s told me that,” he said. “You have to keep work­ing hard in train­ing and earn my spot, that’s how it is at the high­est level. I’m go­ing to con­tinue to do so. This is hope­fully just the start.”t

AFP

Chris­tian Pulisic’s first goals in nine ap­pear­ances for Chelsea came as a hat-trick

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