Life has been tough for Christian Pulisic since arriving at Chelsea, but the United States forward has backed himself to thrive after a slow Premier League start.
Pulisic joined the blues on a £58 million (€64m/$73m) deal and was tasked with replacing former talisman Eden Hazard, who moved to Real Madrid.
There were high expectations for the USMNT forward, but it seems the 21-year-old has struggled for consistency, starting just slightly above half of his 16 Premier League this season.
Pulisic has however revealed he never expected to hit the ground running at Chelsea. Acknowledging he knew it would require some time and patience.
“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 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.
“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 the kind of how things went.”
Pulisic may have been slow to fit into his new life, including having to deal with injuries. However, the Chelsea man is enjoying life under Frank Lampard at the Stamford bridge.
“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.
“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.”