Thomas Tuchel has outlined why Christian Pulisic has struggled for starting minutes since helping the USMNT qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, after the Chelsea forward's superb heroics against West Ham.
The forward struck in the 90th minute to snatch a 1-0 win over David Moyes' side late on at Stamford Bridge, with his first goal for the club since last month's Champions League last-16 win over Lille.
Since coming back from international duty, however, he has been relatively starved for minutes, and now his coach has explained why he has been on the bench more often than not.
What did Tuchel say on lack of starting role for Pulisic?
“If you ask him he would say it was not a good idea,” Tuchel told his post-match press conference.
“It is like this, especially with the strikers. He has a period when he was on the run, when he had the confidence and he was heavily involved up front and Timo [Werner] had to wait for many, many weeks.
"Now things turned around a little bit from the Southampton game. Puli struggled a little bit since he came back from international break. Where I think he had three matches and incredible amount of journeys and time zones to cope with. From there he struggled a bit energy wise, that was my impression on and off the pitch. Sometimes it is like this.
“We tried to bring him back to full confidence from the bench and I’m happy with the effort today and I’m very happy that he had the chance to have this huge impact together with Romelu [Lukaku] and Hakim [Ziyech]. This is super important.”
What has Pulisic done since returning from USMNT duty?
Since helping his nation book their spot at Qatar, Pulisic has mustered just one start for the club - in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid, when Chelsea were on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline.
That has seen his action limited to minutes picked up off the bench, with the forward drawing a blank in the return leg against Los Blancos, plus against Southampton.
However, he has now put himself back on the scoresheet with his late heroics against the Hammers.