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Chelsea’s American star Christian Pulisic has bemoaned his lack of playing time the past weeks as the 21-year-old has lost his place in the starting lineup since September and has even failed to make a second-half introduction most times.
Pulisic recently admitted to being put under pressure at Chelsea and broke down when he was subbed off in his country’s 2-0 defeat to Canada.
But all that is past now after a very productive performance from the 21-year-old in Chelsea’s 1-0 win against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
With Chelsea finding it difficult to go past a rigid Newcastle defence, Lampard’s first throw of the dice (Kovacic’s introduction was forced) was to bring on Pulisic in place of Mason Mount on the 64th minute.
The change didn’t only bring spark to Chelsea’s attack, but Pulisic was also involved in the winning goal scored by left-back Marcos Alonso, by combining well with Hudson-Odoi to create space for Alonso to fire home with just 17 minutes remaining.
Lampard has revealed his half-time message to the players and revealed that he brought in Pulisic so he can make some combinations with Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi, and it worked for the Blues.
“Credit to Newcastle,” noted Lampard after the game. “You can see why they have had a couple of big results this year. They are organised, they have men behind the ball, they are a threat on the counter-attack, and in the first half, albeit we created a couple of chances, we were a bit safe, a bit slow.
“We did move the ball from side to side but not with enough risk to sometimes take people out of the game and that was the message at half-time.
“In the second half, for the majority of it we did that. Our combinations were good, we played between the lines more, people were going one-v-one – Callum Hudson-Odoi, Willian and Christian Pulisic when he came on – and it should have been more goals to make the last 10 minutes more comfortable.”