Ahead of his biggest club match since he moved to Europe in 2015, Christian Pulisic dismissed suggestions that he was prone to injuries and credited his time with the U.S. national team in March with rebuilding his confidence.
Pulisic has added to his American record, playing seven UEFA Champions League games in 2020-21 to give him a total of 33 appearances at the age of 22. He is expected to start on Tuesday when Chelsea plays at Real Madrid, which will be his first appearance in the semifinals.
After being in and out of the Chelsea lineup with injuries and then sitting for much of the first two months after German Thomas Tuchel's arrival as the new manager, Pulisic is enjoying his best month of the season with three goals and five starts.
And Chelsea's April accomplishment?
-- It has qualified for the Champions League semifinals for the first time since 2014;
-- It qualified for the English FA Cup final for the second year in a row; and
-- It has opened up a three-point lead in its battle for fourth place in the Premier League and England's final berth in the 2021-22 Champions League.
All this after Pulisic got a scare in the first game of the month, leaving Chelsea's match against West Bromwich -- a 5-2 loss -- because he felt tightness in his hamstring.
"I feel very confident in my body and my fitness level at the moment," Pulisic said on Monday. "I have played a string of games. I've never thought of myself as a player who is injury prone or anything. Obviously, I had some time out in the past year and a bit. It is really just about taking care of my body and putting myself in the best position to be available for every single game. I feel good about that right now."
Pulisic's strong April followed time with the national team during the March international window. He had little impact and left early in a planned substitution in in the 4-1 win over Jamaica but was excellent, playing the 90 minutes and scoring from the penalty spot, in the 2-1 win at Northern Ireland.
"I think maybe it did help a little bit to go away and get some games in with the national team," he said. "I definitely always enjoy that and coming back, I felt very confident and I still feel that way. It is just about keeping up this form and help my team to win these big games."
USMNT Trivia. Only DaMarcus Beasley (PSV 2005) and Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig 2020) have played in the Champions League's semifinals, and no American has played in the final.
Shut Up, Or PUT UP.!!! Oh, He Did.!!! Congrats on a Turbo/Tiki Taka Goal. ... What say you now Frank.???