Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has lavished praise on 'talented' Christian Pulisic, after the American winger starred in the 2-1 win over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
The 21-year-old is nearing the end of his first season as a Premier League player, and has been in good touch since play got underway again following the enforced three-month coronavirus layoff - coming off the bench to equalise for Chelsea in their 2-1 comeback win over Aston Villa at the weekend, as well as netting the opening goal against City.
Back-to-back wins have given Chelsea some breathing room in the race for a top four finish, opening up a five-point gap over Manchester United, who are in good form themselves.
Now, Lampard, speaking to the media after the narrow win over Pep Guardiola's City (via Goal), has revealed his delight at Pulisic's impact, noting that he had tried to protect his young star after a nasty thigh injury sustained at the turn of the year.
“Christian came in last summer. Lot of talk about it. He didn’t really get a break when he got in the team. He was playing really well and gets a really tough injury," Lampard said.
“I wanted to protect him a bit against Villa, see that he could make an impact. He did that. I always planned to start him against Man City because I know what he can bring in these sort of games and he brought it. He did really well."
Pulisic has enjoyed an encouraging debut season at Stamford Bridge, scoring eight goals and contributing five assists in all competitions despite a slow start. But Lampard, who was a prolific goalscorer for Chelsea during his playing days, says there could be more to come, remarking that 'he’s got so much talent and he can get better and better'.
While Chelsea have been chasing down a top four finish on the pitch, they have also been focusing on bolstering their squad off it. Ajax star Hakim Ziyech has already signed on the dotted line, as has highly coveted RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner.
Lampard, though, downplayed the possibility of his side challenging for the Premier League title next season, admitting that the club have a long way to go before they close the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City.
To everyone at @ChelseaFC :— Timo Werner (@TimoWerner) June 18, 2020
I’m incredibly happy to be joining the Blues next season! It feels like the right step for me and I am delighted to become a part of Chelsea FC. Really looking forward to playing for such a fantastic and historic club!
See you soon Chelsea fans! ? pic.twitter.com/WLcagJCHWt
“There is a clear gap and it won't happen overnight with one or two signings. There's a lot of work that needs to be done," Lampard noted.
"Liverpool and City have been works in progress for a few years now and they are getting a lot of success, a bit of success now. I'm not getting carried away. We can get better. We can be better on the ball. We can have more possession.”
Source : 90min