Chelsea new boy Christian Pulisic has admitted he felt he needed to prove himself to his team-mates, but thinks scoring his first goals for the club in a pre-season friendly against Red Bull Salzburg may have gone some way to doing so.
Pulisic is the only new face on the playing staff at Chelsea as they deal with a transfer ban imposed by UEFA. He was signed in January from Dortmund, and the pressure of moving to the Premier League has been intensified by the departure of Eden Hazard from Stamford Bridge.
The United States international doesn’t see himself as Hazard’s replacement though, wanting to be seen as his own man.
“It was a big relief to score my first goals for Chelsea,” the 20-year-old said.
“Being a new signing and coming into the club, I felt I needed to prove myself and wanted to show the guys early on, especially my team-mates, that I can play too. Hopefully I have done that a bit and earned their respect.
“It’s what I’m out there to do. I’m in an attacking position. I want to score goals, I want to help with assists and do a lot of good things.
“I’m not trying to fill the gap left by Eden, he was an unbelievable player. I want to be my own player, to look at me like that, do the best I can for the team.”
One figure in the stands of Wednesday’s game was Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
Pulisic was introduced to the Russian by new Blues manager Frank Lampard, but he says the billionaire’s presence didn’t influence him on the pitch.
“I wasn’t thinking about the owner being there when I scored. But it’s great, he said ‘hello’ to us after and it was a good night. He said ‘welcome to the club’, just being nice.”
One player that Pulisic has already developed a relationship with is Ross Barkley.
“He’s an easy guy to play with,” he added. “I wasn’t sure that he was going to see that pass for the goal, but he picked me out from, I don’t know how far away it was.
“It was perfect. We had a good connection today.”