Chelsea manager Frank Lampard hadn’t planned to use Christian Pulisic any more than a half-hour on Saturday against Leeds, the USMNT star returning from an injury lay-off over the past week and playing an hour-plus against Sevilla at midweek.
An early injury to Hakim Ziyech at Stamford Bridge meant an early introduction for Pulisic, who slid home a goal in stoppage time to salt away a 3-1 Chelsea win and put Chelsea atop the league for at least a day.
[ MORE: Pulisic Watch from Chelsea 3-1 Leeds ]
ProSoccerTalk editor Joe Prince-Wright asked the Chelsea boss about Christian Pulisic’s performance and goal in a second 60-minute run post-injury.
Lampard really didn’t have a choice but to tab Pulisic to replace Ziyech, as center forward Tammy Abraham was the only other attacking option on a bench with Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
“Really pleased because’s been a difficult period for him with the injury and he gets frustrated in a good way because he wants to play,” Lampard said. “Having played 65 minutes in Seville I knew this game would have a huge amount of energy for the players and thought it was wise to start him on the bench. My plan was probably to give him 30 minutes.
“But to play the period of the game he played, with the intensity of the game and get his goal… He has an incredible gift. It sounds simple, but arriving in the six-yard box as a wide man. So I was delighted that he got his goal and he is only going to get stronger now.”
Lampard was also asked about the weekend’s results now making the top of the table looking more like a traditional Premier League table.
Chelsea’s 22 points are one better than Liverpool and Spurs, who play Sunday, while Manchester United and Man City are just behind the top three.
“It’s hard to be too expectant at this relatively early stage but you would expect that the teams who had been there in recent years would be there,” Lampard said. “Liverpool and Man City I expect them to be there. There are some teams in and around it I wouldn’t rule out. I’m more concerned about ourselves.”