Christian Pulisic is fired up and ready to become the first USMNT player in history to play in the men’s UEFA Champions League final.
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He wants to do the damn thing.
Pulisic, 22, is expected to start for Chelsea against Manchester City in Porto on Saturday, and in doing so he would become the first-ever American to play in the Champions League final.
Asked about the significance of that, Pulisic told our NBC Sports analyst Tim Howard that he is focused on one thing and one thing only: winning the Champions League.
“Not really, it is more of a personal and team goal, I want to go out and win that thing before I think of anything else,” Pulisic said. “It is incredible and also, Zack [Steffen] on the other team, who would have thought, two dudes from Pennsylvania you know!? I can see how it is a massive thing and it makes me very proud but I’m focused on this game and I want to win this thing.”
Fourth time lucky for Pulisic at Chelsea?
Since he’s been at Chelsea they have played in three finals (two FA Cup finals and the UEFA Super Cup final way back in August 2018) and lost all three.
That’s nothing on Pulisic. He’s actually played pretty well in most of those finals and been very unlucky. In the Super Cup final he had a fine goal ruled out for offside, then in the FA Cup final in 2019 he scored against Arsenal but suffered a horrible hamstring injury and in the FA Cup final this season he came off the bench and was brilliant as Chelsea also clawed it back against Leicester.
But you can tell in Pulisic’s eyes that he is fed up of him and Chelsea being the ‘nearly men’ and just being happy to get to finals or finish in the top four.
This young group of players want to win something and Pulisic has had a taste of silverware in Germany, winning a German Cup with Borussia Dortmund, but that’s it so far in his young career.
How big of a role will Pulisic play?
Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea are the underdogs against Manchester City despite beating them twice in recent months in the Premier League and FA Cup, but you get the sense there is a bit of destiny working in Chelsea’s favor here.
Pulisic has played a key role throughout the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds and he looks ready to save his best until last. His battle against Joao Cancelo or Kyle Walker should be epic and we all know what he did against Manchester City last season.
This season, Pulisic has caused City a lot of problems centrally and played a big role in their comeback win at Manchester City in May, albeit against a weakened City side. Pulisic has played as one of the two underneath forwards for Chelsea this season under Tuchel and it will be intriguing to see if he starts with Mason Mount underneath Werner, or if Tuchel prefers Kai Havertz or Hakim Ziyech over him.
Why would Tuchel do that? Well, he has confessed many times that Pulisic is a great impact player off the bench and he could plan it out so that the he comes onto the pitch in the second half to be the hero. Wouldn’t that be something!?
The USMNT star is not satisfied with just reaching the Champions League final. That is exactly how it should be.