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Christian Pulisic claims Tuchel deceived him about playing time

Chrisitian Pulisic Thomas Tuchel

American forward Christian Pulisic claims that former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel lied to him about starting a massive match. In an excerpt from his upcoming book Christian Pulisic: My Journey So Far, the USMNT star said that Tuchel promised him a start in the 2020/21 Champions League semifinal second-leg game against Real Madrid.

Pulisic was in the starting XI for the first leg against the Spanish giants and scored. Following the match, Tuchel apparently told Pulisic that he would start him again for the second leg. This, however, was not the case. The German Tuchel left Christian Pulisic on the bench.

“What happened before that game was hugely disappointing for me,” Pulisic said in the book. “I’d had a really good first leg performance and our following match was against Fulham in the league. Tuchel told me that he was resting me for the second leg and as a result I didn’t play a single minute in the Fulham game.”

“Then on match day of the second semi, Tuchel tells me he’s changed his mind and he’s going with Kai [Havertz]. I honestly was dumbfounded and very disappointed. I thought that I’d earned a start and, most importantly, he had assured me previously I was going to start. So by the time he brought me on with about 25 minutes left, I was just so wound up.”

Pulisic came into the game as a late sub and provided an assist to Mason Mount less than 20 minutes later. Chelsea won the game 2-0 and the semifinal 3-1 on aggregate.

Christian Pulisic and Tuchel lost relationship

Perhaps a reason for the snub was the fact that Pulisic disregarded Tuchel’s instructions in the first leg. However, the American’s rebellious moment actually created his goal. “The untold story behind that goal is that when [Antonio] Rüdiger has the ball, I can see he’s looking to play it long over the top and I started my run to get in behind the Madrid backline,” said Pulisic.

“But as I take off on the run, I hear Thomas Tuchel yelling from the sideline, ‘Christian, stay in the pocket, don’t make the run!‘ But, I just had the feeling I’d find the space and get on the end of the pass. So, I continued the run.”

Chelsea eventually won the Champions League trophy that year, but there was tension between player and coach. Despite public claims that their relationship was fine, Pulisic, and his father, was clearly showed clear frustration.

Chelsea fired Tuchel earlier this month. In his replacement’s, Graham Potter, only game, Pulisic came on as a late substitute.

PHOTO: Imago / Sportimage

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  1. Azer

    September 23, 2022 at 1:36 am

    Thomas Tuchel told Pulisic he changed his mind and is going with Kai Havertz. Tuchel choose his countryman. The Germans stick together.
    Christian Pulisic came to Chelsea to play, not to sit on the bench. How is he going to show the world what he can do as some are asking if he’s constantly on the bench. He’s an American and is allowed to give his opinion and his experience at the Club whether others like it or not.

  2. Jack

    September 22, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    Pulisic is an ungrateful spoiled man. Sure it’s fair to be upset about the manager not putting him in starting lineup but airing the dirty laundry in public is very low class.

    I trust Tuchels choices especially when even Pep Guardiola praised Tuchels scheme and the difficulty of countering it.

    All this talk about Pulisic being the Messiah for USMNT is a total joke. He’s not a generational player. He’s just another kid who uses victimhood and excuses instead of putting the effort into being great.

    • MarkB

      September 22, 2022 at 9:02 pm

      Plus he’s been overhyped by the media to the same extent that Donovan, another slightly better than average player, was. The fact seems to be that, other than goalkeepers, Clint Dempsey is the only American to approach “World Class”, whatever that means.

  3. David

    September 20, 2022 at 6:15 pm

    It’s time for Pulisic to show us what he can do on the field on a consistent basis. It’s no good turning it on when playing for the US national team, where he’s justifiably the best and most inspiring player, but not delivering regularly at Chelsea. Moaning about Tuchel is hardly likely to endear him to his future managers. He’s a huge disappointment. Before his major injury he was flying; now he’s a pale imitation of that player and time doesn’t stand still.

  4. Kei

    September 20, 2022 at 3:18 pm

    It’s the club politics. It’s managers playing favorites. It’s “unfair” treatment. It’s deception. It’s biases based on nationality. It’s a deeper-rooted explanation bordering on conspiracy.

    It’s always the fault of someone or something else when it comes to the American player.

    • MarkB

      September 20, 2022 at 9:21 pm

      Yep. “Captain America” or daddy never met a whine they weren’t up for. How about actually trying to play at the elite level that you seem to think you’re at.

    • Chris

      September 21, 2022 at 1:21 am

      Players from all countries use the same excuses. Singling him out because he’s an American is a cheap shot.

      • Kei

        September 21, 2022 at 12:51 pm

        It’s one thing for players from other countries to “use the same excuses.” It’s a whole ‘nother thing to air dirty laundry about your own club, the one that’s still paying your wages — in an autobiography you wrote at the age of 24 (really, my guy?) — in an attempt to rationalize those excuses.

        Dude is totally unserious as an athlete and a personality.

        • MarkB

          September 21, 2022 at 9:37 pm

          You just hit the nail square on the head. Perhaps just put some Clint Dempsey big boy pants on, quit you’re whining and get on with it Pulisic.

        • Chris

          September 22, 2022 at 1:25 pm

          Why does it matter how you do it? The purpose is still the same whether you do it in a book or the media. My personal theory on all of this is that Pulisic is just behaving like the rest of his spoiled, immature and entitled generation

      • MarkB

        September 21, 2022 at 9:51 pm

        Not really singling him out as an American. I’m also an American, but an under performing whiner is just that,whatever his nationality may be. Perhaps the American soccer media should realize that he’s “not all that and a bag of chips”, but rather a slightly above average performer in the big time.

        • Chris

          September 22, 2022 at 1:32 pm

          Actually, I was replying to the comment above yours. I don’t believe Pulisic is anywhere near playing up to his hype but I think the name calling and insults are a little over the top.

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