Christian Pulisic went from “fit for Everton” to not in the 18 on Saturday within 48 hours, leaving Chelsea and USMNT supporters curious regarding the playmaker’s status before, during, and after a 1-0 loss to the Toffees at Goodison Park.
Lampard said Pulisic was “uncomfortable in training this week” after scoring late against Leeds last weekend and feeling tightness in his hamstring.
[ MORE: Three things we learned ]
The English manager rested Pulisic at midweek but was expected to deploy the American on Saturday given the absences of fellow wingers Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The 22-year-old Pulisic had gone 16, 67, and 60 minutes in his last three outings culminating with a goal in the Blues’ 3-1 win at Leeds, which saw him come off the bench after a half-hour for the injured Ziyech.
“He had to be left out,” Lampard said of Pulisic. “He was uncomfortable in training this week and yesterday. He can’t play 90 minutes or start a game in the PL.”
So it seems like Lampard was engaged in gamesmanship with his comments about Pulisic being fit for Saturday.
And he’s also angling for changes to Premier League protocols, arguing that the Premier League has to move to five subs this season.
“We did miss our three wingers that are injured. It comes back to the same story. There are muscle injuries all over the Premier League. Rodriguez is out for them today. I think when you watch Everton against Chelsea you want to see these exciting wingers and if you don’t see them then you are not seeing the best of the Premier League.
“In terms of player welfare, if we are asking players to fly all over the world for their country and play three games in 10 days and come back and play on a Saturday morning early and then go again on a Tuesday and go again on a Saturday, players that are at the higher end of the pitch, that are explosive, are getting issues all over the Premier League. That’s the big picture and it’s frustrating for everybody. Every team has big squads so everybody can pack their benches and everybody can use their squads to get through these unprecedented fixture list times.”
If they haven’t changed it now, it seems unlikely it will happen now.
On the other hand, the fixture lists about to be congested for every Premier League club. Before, it was simply an argument for the Champions League and Europa League sides.
So you’re saying there’s a chance? Yes, a chance.