Christian Pulisic has revealed that new Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is going to play him in a new position.
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The USMNT star, 22, was given his professional debut by Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund in 2016 and knows him extremely well.
After starting Tuchel’s first two games in charge of Chelsea on the bench, Pulisic is now being readied for a first start under the German coach and he is expecting to play in a new position when they take on Tottenham on Thursday (start time, 3pm ET on Peacock Premium) in a huge London derby.
Pulisic revealed he played as ‘a kind of false striker’ as he came on at half time to inspire a 2-0 win against Burnley on Sunday, as he assisted the second goal late on and went close to scoring on several occasions.
“It’s been good so far,” Pulisic said. “We’ve got a new outlook on things, we have had a really good win so it’s been a positive start. It’s been some crazy times recently and just to get a win left all the guys in the changing room really excited. We have had a lot of fun in training and there are smiles on faces which is good to see.”
“I remember making my debut under him [Tuchel] and it was a really exciting time. I was playing in the youth team at Dortmund and then I got the call to say I was going to go up and train with the first team, and be a full first team member. It was really exciting. I had to fight my way into that team because it was a very strong team, and being a young player I had to work extra hard.
“The manager trusted in me and most importantly gave me chances to play, so I am grateful for that. He definitely helped me as a young player and I only have good memories of that time. We had some success at Dortmund together, and it’s been good to see him again and work with him once more.”
What would new position mean for Pulisic?
This is going to mean Pulisic will be playing a lot more centrally, and that is down to two things.
1) Chelsea are now playing with wing backs in a 3-4-3 and 2) Pulisic making runs at defenders centrally will cause a lot of problems. A lot.
Tuchel already told ProSoccerTalk how much he loves working with Pulisic and trusts him, and the German coach is eager to get the American star in the best positions possible. In the nicest way possible, Pulisic’s best work is not done tracking back out wide and he needs a free role to roam between the wing and central attacking areas.
A false nine position is pretty much the perfect spot for him, but there are reservations about him not being able to take on players one-v-one and get lost in the congested central areas.
Time will tell if that is the case, but what we know is that Tuchel wants Pulisic to be central to his team at Chelsea.
This tactical switch is also good news for the likes of Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, but maybe not Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham as Tuchel could move away from having a traditional number nine at the top of the pitch.
After Frank Lampard was fired as Chelsea boss and replaced by Tuchel, we thought that Pulisic would be a big winner from that coaching move.
It would appear that the USMNT star is central to Tuchel’s new tactical plan at Chelsea, and the fact they can often be seen laughing and joking together, and the German coach trusts Pulisic, will also work in his favor.