It was pretty inevitable that some people would regard Christian Pulisic as Eden Hazard’s replacement in the Chelsea team given the timing of the American’s arrival and departure of the Belgian, and the similar range of positions they can play on the pitch.
There is also the willingness to take opponents on and dribble past them and the acceleration over a short distance to compare, but as Pulisic understandably explains, he has come to Chelsea to plough his own furrow rather than try to be seen as a new version of a player who built himself such a big name here.‘I have heard people say that,’ notes the 21-year-old about the replacement suggestion, ‘but it is not how I look at it. It should not be how anyone does because he [Hazard] was a club legend and he did amazing things here and he is an unbelievable player, but I am coming here as a known player and I am going to show everyone what I can do and play the best I can, for myself and for the club, and that is all I can do.’
Having signed from Borussia Dortmund in January, Pulisic remained in Germany on loan before properly switching in the summer, and now he has been here long enough and had enough minutes on the pitch to start making comparisons.
‘It is a very physical league as people say here,’ he begins. ‘The games have been very intense, every game has presented its own challenge, every team is different. The Bundesliga was also a brilliant league. I can’t say it wasn’t because they are all good teams and every game was tough, but there a few differences but nothing major that I am not used to.‘London is amazing, it is quite a big city. Dortmund wasn’t the biggest city but a nice city but I am really happy to be here and I am definitely enjoying that side of things.‘The American culture is a lot different than really anywhere in Europe, the food you can get, the people, everything was a bit different. Going to Germany was a big shock for me but definitely coming here is a lot more similar to how it is in the US. Obviously not the same but a lot more similar.’
Pulisic has come into a Chelsea side this season that contains plenty of players of comparably young players to himself. One he has operated closely with in his appearances so far is Mason Mount.
‘He is great, a really exciting young player. He comes with so much energy every day to training and you see him in games and his quality is showing and we are really happy with that.
‘Of course we have young players in our squad but that is no reason why we should not go after trophies. We are going to give it everything and push to win everything that we can.‘I am not sure what people think or what people say but we are a very exciting team with a ton of talent and if we continue to build this chemistry and build the way we are, I think it is going to go really well.
‘We have learnt so much [under Frank Lampard. He has been fantastic, he has so much knowledge of the game. He played at the highest level, he played here so he knows what it is all about so it has been great.‘My first game he told me I should go out and don’t be afraid to take on a shot, don’t be afraid to take a chance, go and do your thing, it is the reason you are here. Just to play with confidence and play the way that you have.’
Next up in Chelsea’s quest for success is the hosting of Liverpool later today.
‘We played them in the Super Cup and we got a good taste of that. We played a really good game there and we had a really good chance to win. We are going to go in with another game plan and give it everything and we have players to go out and try to win the game.’
Read: Pre-Match Briefing - Chelsea v Liverpool