Pulisic out for Southampton trip; Tuchel noncommittal on USMNT star’s future

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Christian Pulisic will miss Chelsea’s trip to Southampton this weekend (Watch live, 7:30 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with what Thomas Tuchel called “some little issues in the calf,” though the Blues’ new manager insisted it wasn’t yet an injury, but more of a pre-injury injury.

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UPDATE: Pulisic did not travel with Chelsea to St Mary’s, and will surely be a doubt for their UEFA Champions League game in midweek against Atletico Madrid.

The 2020-21 Premier League season has certainly been a trying one — largely due to injuries — for Pulisic, who has made just 15 appearance (nine starts) with just one goal and on assist in under 1,000 minutes through Chelsea’s first 24 games. And yet, Tuchel says he is “not worried” about the 22-year-old’s growing injury history.

Tuchel, who gave Pulisic his professional debut when they were both at Borussia Dortmund, reaffirmed his confidence in the USMNT star and his belief that Pulisic will inevitably return to form once he moves past his injury issues — quotes from Chelsea’s official website:

“We are not concerned or worried but the medical department is on that. Now we have some little issues in the calf and he stopped training yesterday before it became an injury so I would not say that it is an injury at the moment. It’s risk management that relates to his history of having injuries so we do not want to enter in the same cycle.

“It’s sometimes like this and the main thing for Christian is to stay positive, keep his head up and be ready because he can have a big impact when he starts and he can have a big impact when he comes from the bench with his intensity.”

As for Pulisic’s longer-term future at Chelsea, Tuchel was about as committal as one can be without saying yes — or, is it as noncommittal as one can be without saying no?

“Yes, today, clearly yes, but it is not only my point of view. We have to see. For me, clearly yes because Chelsea bought Christian for a reason, for his quality and his potential so it’s our job to bring out the best in him. He proved in many weeks that he has the level to be a Chelsea regular player, to have a big impact at this club and it’s a challenge now to maintain the level and to keep improving.”

Pulisic’s ongoing struggles — the injuries, plus Tuchel’s tactical ideas and preconceived ideas about him as a player — were a main topic on this week’s ProSoccerTalk video series (see above video), so take 7 minutes, 36 seconds out of your day and let the PST staff break down why you should (or shouldn’t) be worried.

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