Frank Lampard Reveals Why Christian Pulisic Didn't Start Against Manchester United
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Chelsea had a brutal kick-off to the new EPL season. Despite a positive start to the match against rival Manchester United, the Blues ended up suffering an emphatic 4-0 loss to the Red Devils, leaving many fans scratching their heads as to why manager Frank Lampard opted to leave $70 million signing Christian Pulisic out of the starting XI.
Today's Chelsea team to play Man Utd!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 11, 2019
Why Didn't Christian Pulisic Start Against United
When pressed on the issue, Lampard claimed that it was for Pulisic’s benefit: “I don’t want to stick Christian right into the fire without helping him along the way. … It was one of those games where I thought it was better to start with Ross and Mason, who have been very strong in the preseason, and then bring Christian on.”
Pulisic did end up coming on in the 58th minute, but less than 10 minutes later Chelsea found itself down 3-0 thanks to two quick goals from Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, minimizing the actual impact Pulisic would be able to have on the match.
A beautiful pass from Paul Pogba, a cool finish from Marcus Rashford, and Manchester United make it 3-nil!Catch the ending of this match now on NBCSN, or stream here: https://t.co/xhQ2aTI0NC pic.twitter.com/eSvLpFGfWb
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 11, 2019
The young American performed admirably considering his team's situation, making some dangerous runs and smart passes, but failed to influence the run of play in any major way. Lampard defended his decision to sub Pulisic on stating that “If the game carried on at 1-0 or we were back in the game as we should have done at that point, I think he would have been a great injection.”
Despite not starting Pulisic on Sunday, the Chelsea manager certainly isn’t short on praise for the American: “Christian Pulisic is 20 years old, he’s come across from Dortmund, he’s going to be a fantastic player for the club, I believe.”
The expectations are certainly high for Pulisic, who is seen by many Chelsea fans as the direct replacement for superstar winger Eden Hazard, who was sold to Real Madrid earlier this summer. But Lampard is right in tempering fans' immediate expectations of Pulisic’s output, as he is only 20 years old.
With Chelsea set to play Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday, the question is whether Lampard will have the confidence in Pulisic to place him in the starting XI for then next match, or whether he believes Pulisic needs more time to adjust.