United States star Christian Pulisic saw his first action in a Chelsea shirt on Friday, coming on as a substitute for 25 minutes in a 1-0 loss to J1 League champions Kawasaki Frontale in Yokohama.
Pulisic replaced English youngster Mason Mount played both wings as part of manager Frank Lampard’s 4-2-3-1 formation, but couldn’t help the Blues find a goal. Kawasaki Frontale did through Leandro Damião in the 86th minute to win the friendly.
After helping the USMNT finish as Gold Cup runners-up, Pulisic took a brief break before joining Chelsea and completed his first training session on Tuesday.
“It’s been tough, just getting into (things), but I’m feeling really good,” Pulisic said in a club interview after the match. “Obviously it's great to work with (Lampard) and all these guys. It's testing me, and I'm having a great time so far.”
Chelsea is amid a two-window transfer ban after breaching FIFA regulations involving signing youth players, which will last the rest of this summer and through January. As such, the skilled and smart Pulisic is being counted on to take a starring role quickly.
While several first-choice Chelsea players started the match, including Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Jorginho, Pulisic primarily spent his time in the attack linking up with Olivier Giroud and Ross Barkley, both of whom came on at halftime.
After the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and the departure of manager Maurizio Sarri to Juventus, Pulisic and Lampard have their work cut out for them.
Pulisic says the relationship is off to a good start.
“I grew up watching him, and to have him here giving me pointers and helping the team, it's awesome to have him around, and it's nice to have a guy that we can really relate to,” Pulisic said.
Chelsea will face Barcelona in its next preseason game on Tuesday in Saitama.
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