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U.S. men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter has revealed he intends to build the fitness of Christian Pulisic while on international duty so he will go back to Chelsea in a good way.
Pulisic played just one half in USA’s 4-1 victory over Jamaica on Thursday but is expected to feature heavily against Northern Ireland on Sunday.
“It was a planned substitution,” Berhalter said. “Before the game we knew he was only going to play 45 minutes, and when I think about his minutes, we want to progress him in a safe way, but we also want to help get him 90 minutes fit.
“Part of the plan was, he played something like 86 minutes for Chelsea on Sunday, somewhere around there, and then I think the natural progression is a half, and then let him play more against Northern Ireland, a lot more in that case. I think that will set him up nicely to gain fitness here with the national team and go back to Chelsea in a good way.
“The way I saw his performance is that I thought he grew as the game went on and he became really dangerous, very aggressive coming inside, and they were compact. They had a lot of numbers and it was difficult to get his shots through but he was certainly a major factor in that first half.”