Excerpts from Pulisic’s biography “Christian Pulisic: my journey so far” (to be published on 18 October), published by the Daily Mail, reveal that Pulisic and Tuchel have not always been at bliss.
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In particular, Tuchel’s behaviour in the run-up to the 2020/21 Champions League semi-final did not please Pulisic.
After playing well in the first leg 1-1 – Pulisic scored the Blues’ goal – the coach told him that he would give him a rest in the league against Fulham with a view to the return leg. Pulisic did not last a minute on the pitch against the Londoners, but otherwise the promise did not come true.
“On the day of the return leg of the semi-final, Tuchel announced that he had changed his mind and would bet on Kaja Havertz. I was seriously at a loss for words and very disappointed,” Pulisic describes his outlook. “I really felt I deserved a place in the starting line-up and, more importantly, he assured me in advance that I would start.
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When Tuchel finally sent him off with just 25 minutes to go, he “hardened himself”. Nevertheless, Pulisic did distinguish himself and made the score 2-0 thanks to Mason Mount.
It’s also interesting what Pulisic says about the first match: before his Madrid goal, Pulisic used a long pass from Antonio Rüdiger up top, Tuchel shouting at him to give up the run. Pulisic fought back and scored, but he shouldn’t have pleased Tuchel too much.
Incidentally, according to the Daily Mail, Pulisic was not the only Chelsea player who did not get on with Tuchel. It is said that prior to the German’s surprise sacking on 7 September, the tablecloth between Tuchel and some of the Blues players was cut in such a way that they avoided playing on the dugout side. They are said to have been simply annoyed by Tuchel’s constant “moaning” and “groaning”.
The break-up must have had more than just sporting reasons.