Pulisic: I never expected to come in and score 10 goals in my first game for Chelsea

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Christian Pulisic Chelsea 2019-20
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The United States forward made a slow start to life at Stamford Bridge but has backed himself to thrive in the Premier League

Christian Pulisic admits he found it tough to live up to expectations during the early months of his Chelsea career but is confident of being a success at Stamford Bridge.

It is a little over a year since the United States international signed for Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund in a £58 million (€64m/$73m) deal.

The forward returned to Dortmund on loan for the remainder of the 2018-19 season before linking up with his Blues team-mates in the summer.

There were high expectations placed on the 21-year-old’s shoulders upon his return, not least because many people saw him as the natural successor to the departing Eden Hazard.

He struggled for consistency during the early weeks of his Blues career though, starting just one Carabao Cup game between late August and mid-October.

However, he properly announced his arrival on the Premier League stage with a hat-trick in a 4-2 win against Burnley at Turf Moor, part of a run of form that saw him bag six goals in seven matches over the autumn.

Pulisic acknowledges that it took him some time to adjust to life in English football, but insists he never expected to hit the ground running straight away and is proud of the way he played through that difficult early spell.

“You know, everyone says I'm going to go into the Premier League, it's a big change, it's tough. It's a league where there's definitely a lot of games, a lot of stuff going on, and it wasn't easy for me at the beginning, of course,” he told ESPN.

Christian Pulisic Chelsea 2019-20

“I think I'm really proud of how I pushed through things and then I got my opportunity, and I felt I was playing very well recently, and I'm proud. It's been great. I've been enjoying it so much. You know, the football culture here is amazing, and I'm really happy, and I'm so excited to finish off the season strong.

“I didn't expect to come here right away and have everything be perfect and come straight in and, you know, score 10 goals in my first game. I came in, and I wanted to do that right away -- of course, everyone does. But I came in, and it was realistic, and I wanted to continue to earn my position.

“The beginning, it wasn't always easy, and I wasn't always in the line-up, but I just kept working. I put my head down, and I just kept telling myself, 'My time will come.' When you do that, and you just keep working, it does. I was really happy with kind of how things went.”

Pulisic’s progress has been halted by an adductor injury which is likely to rule him out until the end of the month.

Despite that setback, the forward is enjoying life under Frank Lampard and is rapidly learning about the passionate footballing culture in England.

“I've watched him (Lampard) a lot and obviously respected him so much as a player," he said. "Now to have him as a manager has been good, and I've just been taking it all in and learning, kind of seeing what he has and what he offers to this team.

“It's been fun to work with a lot of these young players as well. So I think it's been a really good mix. He's told me to just keep enjoying it and be myself.

“I'm still learning. It's my first season now, kind of halfway through, so I'm just kind of learning to take it day by day, game by game and just focusing on the next opponent and just getting ready and healthy for the next game because it's always right around the corner.

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"It's just a lot of competition, I think, in every game, within your team, and for every game, it's just been great learning from some of my teammates. And yeah, just being here in London, I'm just kind of taking it all in.

“I think the soccer culture here is what I've noticed (the most). It means so much to these people, just in the country in general, just how your team is doing. Not to say that's the case in Dortmund because that was some of the most passionate fans I've ever seen, but just the culture of the whole country, what this game means even around the holidays.

"Everyone's always talking about football. That's definitely impressive.”