Frank Lampard insists he never doubted Christian Pulisic after Red Bull Salzburg manager Jesse Marsch claimed the Chelsea head coach did not rate the American because of his nationality.
Chelsea completed a £58m deal to sign Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund in January 2019 while Maurizio Sarri was in charge of the club, but the USA international did not move to Stamford Bridge until the following summer when Lampard had replaced Sarri.
Earlier in the month, Marsch claimed Lampard doubted Pulisic’s ability to make an instant impact at Chelsea because he was American.
However, Lampard believes Marsch recalled the conversation incorrectly and praised Pulisic for enjoying a “breakthrough” season at the club.
“I did read the comments and I was surprised that he had managed to read my mind as well as he thought he did,” Chelsea boss Lampard said in a press conference on Thursday.
Christian Pulisic scored a hat-trick for Chelsea against their next opponents Burnley at Turf Moor in October 2019
“He has recounted the conversation wrong and I have to put it correct. It was a game against Salzburg in pre-season and Christian scored two goals. Jesse came up to me and we spoke about Christian. He said he was a talented player and I agreed with him and we spoke about how exciting his development will be.
“That was the conversation. Jesse managed to put it across slightly differently. I played in America for 18 months and I would never underestimate the desire that American players have to learn and to improve. Christian has that desire and talent also so it was never in doubt for me.
“I understand the rigours of the Premier League. It’s clearly the toughest league in the world and it’s not just Christian who would have felt that, but some of the greatest players in history have.
“What Christian did was find his feet very quickly and have a breakthrough season with lots of goals and assists….