Jesse Marsch believes that Frank Lampard doubted Christian Pulisic at the start of last season because he's from the United States. The RB Salzburg coach claims that the Chelsea boss didn't believe in the winger's ability because of the nature of his football education up until his move to Stamford Bridge.
Pulisic's move to Chelsea was announced in January 2019, but he hadn't arrived at the club until the summer. He endured a difficult debut campaign due to fitness issues and because he wasn't trusted enough by Lampard, who seemingly felt that Pulisic had to adapt to the Premier League.
However, since the restart of football after the COVID-19-induced lockdown, the former Borussia Dortmund star saw a dramatic turnaround in form and was arguably Chelsea's most lethal player in that period.
Marsch heaps immense praise on Chelsea star and compatriot Pulisic
Speaking on his compatriot's debut campaign at Chelsea, the RB Salzburg boss explained;
"The perception in Europe, mostly, is that the American player is willing to run, willing to fight, has good mentality, but technically they're not very gifted and tactically they're not very aware, and their experiences aren't very big. But we're seeing that change. We're seeing more and more of these players develop themselves."
The American continued,
"Even Frank Lampard, when I spoke to him in preseason a year ago now, I was talking to him about having Christian Pulisic, and he was kind of like, "Yeah, he's got a lot to learn so we'll see how he does." I said to him, "Listen, he was at [Borussia] Dortmund, and they had a high level of tactical thinking, of playing, and he was very successful."
Pulisic scored four goals and set up a further four in just nine games upon his return to the first team after the restart of football back in June. He was simply electrifying, proving to be too much for defences all across England.
The winger fought his way back into Lampard's first-team plans and is now a key member of the Chelsea attack.
Marsch believes that this came as a result of Lampard realising that Pulisic is far better than he gave him credit for. The Salzburg coach remarked,
"I could see right away that Frank Lampard's idea of Christian Pulisic was shaped a lot by the fact that he was American and not that his football education came a lot from what has happened in Germany. Since then, I think Lampard has learned that Pulisic is a lot better than he gave him credit for."
He believes that there was a reason why Pulisic was rated as one of the best youngsters in the Bundesliga, along with the likes of Chelsea new boys Kai Havertz and Timo Werner.
"He [Pulisic] was considered one of the best young players in Germany, and that's in a group of players with Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Joshua Kimmich, these kinds of players. He was in a group with those players, and it's not just because he was talented, but it was because he understood the tactics and understood how to fit in the game and he was developing a real astute way of how to play."
"Christian had to fight for that, which is the American quality, but he's a damn good player. Same with Gio Reyna, same with Tyler Adams, same with Weston McKennie."
Pulisic suffered an injury during Chelsea's FA Cup final defeat at the hands of Arsenal and started for the first time against Southampton. The American could potentially make his first European start of the campaign as the Blues are set to host Sevilla on Tuesday night.
Published 20 Oct 2020, 21:18 IST