'Brilliant' Christian Pulisic delivers full package

Christian Pulisic's moment was coming.

In each of Chelsea's previous three games -- all wins -- the 21-year-old American had come off the bench and helped set up goals.

So after going eight weeks without a Premier League start, it was inevitable that Chelsea manager Frank Lampard would give Pulisic a shot, making him the only change in the starting lineup from the 1-0 win at Ajax in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday for Saturday's match against Burnley at Turf Moor.

Lampard said he did not want to break up a winning lineup, but getting Pulisic into the lineup proved fortuitous.

Pulisic scored his first three Premier League goals to lead Chelsea to a 4-2 win over Burnley for its fourth straight league win and seventh straight in all competitions.

Among the records Pulisic broke, he became ...

-- The youngest Chelsea player to record a hat trick in the Premier League, breaking the record teammate Tammy Abraham set in September;
-- The first American player to record a perfect hat trick (in order on Saturday left foot, right foot and header) in the Premier League; and
-- The first American player to record a natural hat trick (three straight goals) in the Premier League.

(The only other American to score a Premier League hat trick was Clint Dempsey for Fulham in a 5-2 win over Newcastle United in 2012.)

Pulisic's burst of emotion after his first goal showed how much the goal meant to him after a difficult start to his first season in England following a $73 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund.

'The first few months were definitely hard'

"The first few months were definitely hard," Pulisic said afterwards. "I had a few starts earlier in the season and then I fell out a bit and tried to get any minutes that I could and make an impact."

Lampard said Pulisic's work in training and in the minutes he's given him in games paid off.

"The way that he's trained over the past few weeks and the impact he's had when he's been playing has said to everyone, 'Here I am' and what talent he does have," the Chelsea manager said afterwards. "I'm really pleased for him today, it's what we need from all our attacking players — to be a threat, to play like that, to have a ruthless edge about how they finish. He showed the full package today.

"The first goal, where he waits, then a step over, then moves away from the players. That sort of thing is brilliant and I hope it gives him the confidence that it should do. I'm pretty sure that it will do."

'I didn’t think that it was going to happen right away'

A week earlier against Newcastle United, Pulisic came off the bench and helped set up Marcos Alonso's late winner but also created other chances for himself and others in his 27-minute stint.

"The last few weeks," he said, "I was able to show that again, helping the team coming in especially in the Newcastle game. I think they saw that and gave me a start today. I didn’t think that it was going to happen right away, being a big success and coming into a big club like this, it takes time. So I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far and I’m going to keep going from here."

Lampard alluded to Pulisic arriving after just one week off following the Gold Cup as a factor in his slow start.

"He went and played for his country in tournament football over the summer," he said. "When I got the job, he had one week off and he said he wanted to come back. I asked him if he wanted two weeks, but he wanted a week. I had to take that into consideration for him leg-wise and freshness-wise."

Lampard has plenty of other options on the wings while he has tried to bring Pulisic along.

"Callum [Hudson-Odoi]’s come back," Lampard said of the 18-year-old Englishman whom Pulisic replaced in the lineup. "Willian’s been playing fantastic, so I will have rotation issues. I’ve just tried to get the best out of him. He’s going to be a big player for us, a big, big player."

Photo: David Blunsden/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire

21 comments about "'Brilliant' Christian Pulisic delivers full package".
  1. Bob Ashpole, October 26, 2019 at 11:55 p.m.

    In a way, Lampard's rotation problem is a familiar one to baseball fans. Pitchers have to be used in rotation to keep them all sharp, but not overworked. 

    Congrats to Chelsea and Pulisic.

  2. frank schoon, October 27, 2019 at 9:39 a.m.

    Not to be a party pooper on Pulisic's celebration, watching the video looking at the quality of the goals scored,didn't impress me when you take into account the poor ,and I mean poor defensive of the Burnley team. If Christian needed a little luck to bolster his confidence, this would be the team and the goal to make ,for I still don't understand how that ball, with such little speed rolled and  got through 3 defenders and the goalie , all within that little angle.
    One goal came through a change of direction caused by the defender. It was poor defense and luck with the header. The cross came from Christian's weak side, meaning he would have to head the ball with right side of his forehead because he's a rightfooted player. But he ended up heading the ball with the back of his head looking downfield ,having no clue to know where the ball was going,but it went in.
    I can't believe Burnley is playing in the EPL, this team does not belong there. Even Willian looked good today for he's had a bad time of it this season.
    This is not the type of game and team where I'm going to judge Pulisic on. It's the game we played against Canada which tells me a lot more about Christians capabilities and not against some team like Burnley you can run roughshod  over and dominate.

  3. Philip Carragher replied, October 27, 2019 at 11:43 a.m.

    FS, you are a party pooper but you'll never be accused of not having soccer balls. Despite my local and well-deserved label of being a curmudgeon (on several fronts), I truly enjoyed CP's success yesterday. What a joy to witness. To Frank's points, I also thought the goalie reacted very slowly to the first goal although I'm sure having a ball shot between the defender's legs provided camoflague. (CP tried the same manuever later on another left-footed shot that the defender kept his legs closer together and stopped the attempt.) The second goal looked like the defenders had heavy legs although it may just be that CP possesses that next level of quickness that they lack, and, on the header I will defend CP and say I used to head balls that way and score. It's difficult for sure but I'm guessing that we witnessed skill mixed with some luck.

  4. frank schoon replied, October 27, 2019 at 12:07 p.m.

    Philip, he needed this for his confidence,and it looks great for his fans but to me when I you really break it down detail-wise this does not do anything me as far as judging him on his ability. I can't believe how much space Burnley gave away on defense.

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, October 27, 2019 at 1:47 p.m.

    Frank I think the hype is a little overdone too, but I always welcome the opportunity lift a mug and cheer.  

  6. frank schoon replied, October 27, 2019 at 2:24 p.m.

    Bob, What I"m trying to point out here is that those who overhype his accomplishments in this game will be in a state of shock if they see him play again like he did against Canada because they fail to understand or see why he was so succesful in the Chelsea as compared to the Canada game..

  7. Paul Berry replied, October 27, 2019 at 3:27 p.m.

    Burnley had only conceded 10 goals in 9 games before yesterday. 

  8. Seth Vieux replied, October 27, 2019 at 5:46 p.m.

    Not that Frank has no point, other than the first goal they weren't exactly gorgeous, but he fails to recognize that the consistency of the danger Pulisic imposed on Burnley is a big part of how a player manages a hat trick. Not like he had three decent chances all day and got lucky 3 times. He also greatly exaggerates the weakness of Burnley and their defense. Classic analysis from only watching highlights. 

    In fact Burnley sit tied for 11th, only one point behind Manchester United. They've also been reasonably decent defensively. They sit 12th in goals conceded at 15 (Chelsea have conceded 16) and are tied for 3rd in shutouts with 3.

    EPL leading scorer Jamie Vardy only managed one against Burnley. Second leading scorer and teammate Abraham couldn't find the net. Fourth leading scorer Aubameyang only managed one, 8th leading scorer Mane only got one, while teammate (and recent gold boot winner) Salah did not score against them. Firmino only managed one against them and Pulisic hat trick against the same opponent now put him tied with Firmino in league goals. 

    Back to Pulisic's performance yesterday. He was dynamic and dangerous throughout the match and in fact might have scored even more if not for a nice save. The second goal was deflected but was headed on net and certainly had a chance to beat the keeper. The third goal wasn't poor technique it was some combination of poor service / poorly timed run (and the runs were already complete as the corner had already been turned back to Odoi). Pulisic was goal-side of the service and made a pretty athletic adjustment to get a legal scoring surface around the ball to turn it on goal. Beautiful? No. Big play? Certainly.

    Do I think Pulisic has moved from fighting for time to EPL best 11 in one game? Of course not. But it was certainly a big showing and more evidence that Lampard is likey leaving a very dangerous player on the bench too often.

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, October 28, 2019 at 8:44 a.m.

    Frank, you will be encouraged to hear what Pulisic said about Lampard: "He was an incredible goalscorer so we work on it a lot in training."

  10. Nick Gabris, October 27, 2019 at 11:44 a.m.

    Regardless of the team being played, that's the beauty of soccer, you never know what happens next. Just like Burnley coming back with two goals and with a little more time, could have possibly tied the game. I thought Pulisic showed how he is capable of attacking the goal and being creative regardless of who they are playing. Great job Christian.   

  11. frank schoon replied, October 27, 2019 at 12:09 p.m.

    Nick ,all players can look good especially when they are given the space and time.

  12. beautiful game, October 27, 2019 at noon

    Well done Christian...CP showed his attacking instincts and efficacy with the help of his quality teammates. The latter is the missing piece on his NT.

  13. Seth Vieux replied, October 27, 2019 at 5:49 p.m.


  14. Ben Myers, October 27, 2019 at 2:21 p.m.

    Pulisic's goals were opportunistic, taking advantage of Burnley mistakes.  But do not forget that Dyche's squad has survived in the EPL stratosphere for two years on the strength of its defense.  So it was a performance both good and a bit lucky.  I think Lampard got Pulisic juiced for a good performance in a first start by keeping him out of the starting eleven and emphasizing the need for hard work on the training ground.

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, October 27, 2019 at 3:48 p.m.

    Look again at the third goal.

  16. uffe gustafsson, October 27, 2019 at 4:57 p.m.

    WOW if you don’t score a perfect goal then somehow it don’t count. Pulisic played an amazing game.
    scored 3 goals and that’s not enough for some of you.

  17. schultz rockne, October 27, 2019 at 6:19 p.m.

    He had a confidence-raising match. He also gave up the ball that led to Burnley's first goal. He will continue to have rocky moments, but hey...weekend party time!

  18. John James, October 28, 2019 at 11:18 p.m.

    This guy wasn't starting, then riding the bench and then he didn't even dress. Now he earns a finally earns start and scores a hat trick, a perfect hat trick. And you're freakin' talking about teh quality of the goals?

    Dude, you are completely clueless.

  19. Santiago 1314, October 29, 2019 at 12:27 a.m.

    Pulisic continues to show his "Worth" against "Lower" level Opposition... Still waiting for "The Messiah" to "Carry" a Team in a Top Level Match... We are Talking $73 million after all.!!!

  20. Bob Ashpole replied, October 29, 2019 at 6:09 p.m.

    $73 million reflects how badly Chelsea wanted the player at that time. Now Chelsea is under a 1-year transfer ban. Under the circumstances I don't think the terms remarkable, except that he is a US player, of course, and a much lower fee would have been a US record transfer too.

  21. Santiago 1314, October 29, 2019 at 11:31 p.m.

    $73million was Way Out of "Market"... I think they were lookimg to sell KIT... ala Chichirito... i would have preferred he go to Barca, at Lower Price.. and be Under Study to Iniesta... I think he is Technically, Tactically that good... My Fear is that, Over Payment and Under Performance will make him another Freddy Adu.

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