Pulisic relieved at finally making his mark for Chelsea
Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic says he felt a “sense of relief” after he netted a hat-trick against Burnley on Saturday after a difficult start to his time at the Premier League club.
The 21-year-old American international — who cost the club £58 million ($74 million) when they signed him from Borussia Dortmund last season — became the youngest Chelsea player to score a hat-trick in the 4-2 win.
Pulisic has ostensibly been signed to replace outstanding playmaker Eden Hazard, who left for Real Madrid in the close season, but has taken time to settle in.
Saturday was just his second start since August — the other being the League Cup clash with lower league Grimsby — and his first goals for the club in nine appearances.
“Of course there is a sense of relief,” he said.
“You could see that in my emotions after the first goal, that relief of getting my first goal and being able to help my team at this level.
“It’s really good for me.”
Pulisic, who in November 2018 in the friendly with Italy became aged 20 years and 63 days old the youngest player to captain the United States, said he had expected to have to battle for a starting place despite his huge transfer fee.
“I wanted to be on the field as much as I could right from the start,” he said.
“That is everyone’s goal. But I didn’t come here expecting everything to be easy and have an easy route and start every game.
“It’s not always that easy. So I came in had to work for my spot just like everyone does. I’m proud of the journey I’ve had so far.”
Pulisic said the important thing was that Chelsea manager Frank Lampard — who was not in charge when the club bought him — had faith in him.
Lampard had said he deserved a chance after he came off the bench in midweek to set up Michy Batshuayi’s late winner in the 1-0 victory over Ajax in Wednesday’s Champions League match.
“(Lampard) believes in me and he’s told me that,” he said.
“You have to keep working hard in training and earn my spot, that’s how it is at the highest level.
“I’m going to continue to do so. This is hopefully just the start.”