US boss Brian McBride was a visitor to the club earlier this season as Christian Pulisic was establishing himself as a Blue...
The American international has been a hit in his maiden Premier League campaign, adding goals and assists to the side despite spending spells on the sidelines through injury.
The highlight of Pulisic’s season has to be his ‘perfect’ hat-trick at Burnley in October, leading us to a 4-2 win at Turf Moor, which McBride feels was justification for the careful approach our head coach took in integrating the American into his side.
‘I think that’s the good thing about having a manager who has played the game at such a high level, because Frank was very patient with Christian at the beginning,’ explained McBride when speaking to Mike’d Up, Chelsea’s official US podcast.
‘Christian’s moved over to a new country, joined a new team and had to establish himself in a new league. There could have been the pressure there on him to deliver straightaway but Frank understood that he needed to have time to adapt.
‘So, from a US national team perspective, that was really nice to see. We don’t know what was happening behind-the-scenes at the club and how hands on that would have been, but it allowed time for Christian to settle in, adapt and integrate into the team. He was then able to understand how both Chelsea and Frank wanted him to play.
‘Then when the time was right, Frank really let Christian loose and you could see before the injury he was really sharp, he was quick on his heels and he was hurting opposition defenders.’
While the injury lay-off was frustrating for Pulisic and Chelsea at the time, McBride also feels that the timing was most unfortunate as he was seeing a fine partnership being struck up between our No.22 and Tammy Abraham, our top scorer.
‘He seemed to really find a good bond with Tammy [Abraham] too,’ added McBride. ‘He was supplying him with good deliveries, and he was able to run off him and link-up well. So, the timing of the injury was very unfortunate, not only for Christian, but for Chelsea too.’
McBride was also asked by hosts Mike Ruiz and Chris Wittyngham what his relationship was like with Chelsea, with the former Fulham striker revealing he visited our Cobham training base earlier this year to check up on Pulisic’s progress – and was treated to lunch by Petr Cech!
‘My relationship with Chelsea has been really good,’ said McBride. ‘It was nice to get over to the UK to visit, along with a few other clubs, before the lockdown started. I had lunch with Petr Cech and we talked over a lot of things.
‘I also met with the medical team at Chelsea, because it was during a time where Christian was rehabbing back in, and the relationship is really good.
‘I’ve been really pleased with the communication we’ve been allowed with Chelsea and we’ve been able to monitor Christian’s progress throughout.’
From the USA, Chelsea Mike'd Up is the only current official podcast from Chelsea FC, hosted by Mike Ryan Ruiz and Chris Wittyngham. Each episode you'll hear exclusive insider interviews with A-list guests, plus a unique blend of Chelsea analysis, pop culture, and humour. An uncensored and uninhibited discussion on the world of football through blue-tinted lenses. Available from your favourite podcast provider.