Christian Pulisic was unable to reproduce his match-winning performance from last season on Manchester City’s latest visit to west London and reflected after our 3-1 defeat on what went wrong on Sunday afternoon.
Three quick goals in the first half did the damage as Kevin De Bruyne scored and set up another for Phil Foden, following Ilkay Gundogan's opener, to give Frank Lampard’s side a mountain to climb.
The challenge was too great, even if our performance after the restart was much-improved, culminating in Callum Hudson-Odoi’s late consolation.
After the game, Pulisic pinpointed that below-par performance from the hosts in the opening 45 minutes as key to our undoing.
‘We conceded goals with a lot of counter situations and we weren’t prepared to stop that so the first half really let us down,’ said the American.
‘They were able to beat us on some transitions where we needed to defend better and be a little smarter and then we allowed them to dictate the tempo of the game.’
Lampard’s own post-game assessment also focused on City’s control in the first period but there was more on offer from the hosts in the second half
‘We had to go back out and show character,’ Pulisic explained. ‘We’re never going to give up, we know we have talented guys and a good team but we just need to show it, which is what we did in the second half.
‘It’s not easy to come back from three goals down but it’s happened before so we gave it everything and managed to get one back. Unfortunately, it was just too little, too late.’
Following a difficult festive period that has seen the Blues lose four of six matches in the Premier League, Pulisic emphasised the most important thing now is to look forward and work to reverse this negative momentum as soon as possible.
‘We’re in a tough period,’ he added. ‘It’s going to happen to everyone at times and we’ve been in these situations ourselves before. We have a game next week where we need to start turning it around because we do need to start getting results quickly.
‘We’ll watch this game back, look at it as a team and see what we can improve on. It’s not going to be easy but we need to show character now. We have some games coming up where we need to turn it around quickly and start putting together a run of results.’