USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter believes Chelsea’s decision to sack Thomas Tuchel could be “positive” for American star Christian Pulisic. The attacker had grown increasingly frustrated at a lack of opportunities under his former manager at Borussia Dortmund.
New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly opted to sacked Tuchel on Wednesday morning, hours after the German had overseen his 100th game in charge of the club – a shock 1-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb in their Champions League group stage opener. The American’s decision to dismiss Tuchel, who guided the Blues to European glory some 16 months earlier, was understood to have been made prior to that defeat, however.
Despite backing Tuchel with a summer spend in excess of £270million in the transfer market, Boehly was thought to have grown disillusioned with the former Paris Saint-Germain boss. Tensions are understood to become increasingly fraught after Tuchel was pressure into taking up the role of interim sporting director following Marina Granovskaia’s June dismissal and being placed in charge of transfers.
While Boehly reportedly wanted Cristiano Ronaldo and Tuchel didn’t, the latter also deemed a number of others surplus to requirements – Pulisic included. The forward was thought to have been told he could leave Stamford Bridge this summer having fallen out of favour under Tuchel.
“more opportunities” for Pulisic and believes Tuchel’s firing could well be a “positive” for the American attacker. Speaking at the Boston Red Sox’s Yankee Stadium during a visit on Wednesday, Berhalter said: “I’m not happy a guy lost his job.
“But if this means more opportunity for Christian, then it’s positive because he’s a guy that’s proven that he can perform at that level. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Despite featuring in every one of Chelsea’s fixtures so far this season, Pulisic continued to find minutes hard to come by under Tuchel. The 23-year-old was used as a second-half substitute in each of the Blues’ first five Premier League matches, before earning his first start of the season in his side’s controversial 2-1 win over West Ham last weekend.
Pulisic, who was reportedly the subject of interest from the likes of Manchester United and Newcastle over the summer, entered the action against Dinamo Zagreb, in what turned about to be Tuchel’s final match in charge, in the 75th minute on Tuesday night.
Berhalter is expected to announce his US squad for their final two pre-World Cup friendlies against Japan and Saudi Arabia this Wednesday. He will then announce his final 26-man World Cup squad on Wednesday 9 November.