The dichotomy at the heart of Christian Pulisic's career is that he is learning not to feel the need to save the United States men's national team at the same time.
In an exclusive interview with the sports network, Pulisic said that he was trying to let go of the idea that he had to be the matchwinner on international duty. He is one of several stars that were supposed to operate in the shadow of Romelu Lukaku after he moved from Inter Milan.
The lack of form of the leading scorer in the Blues' attack led to the omission of him from the squad for the last-16 tie against Lille. The Blues secured a 2-0 win that gives them a strong chance of progressing to the quarterfinals after Havertz and Pulisic struck.
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It was the lowest number of touches by a player for 90 minutes since records began in 2003 and it was the reason for his omission. Havertz needed just five to open the scoring, and he already had two attempts on goal.
The Germany international fired over from inside the six-yard box before forcing a fine save from the Lille goalkeeper. Havertz headed the corner for the Blues.
It took Havertz only 13 minutes and one second to register eight touches, which was more than enough time for the same shape to be used at Palace.
Lille knocked the ball around at times but never threatened the Blues, with Thiago Silva imperious in defence and N'Golo Kante delivering another remarkable all-action display. The latter set up the second goal for Pulisic, who curled the ball past Jardim after bursting through the Lille defence.
In the recent interview, he explained how he was struggling to find his rhythm due to a lack of game-time following a positive COVID-19 test, an injury and a struggle to break into the team. He started back-to-back matches for the third time this season on Tuesday, and the benefit was clear in his most influential performance of the season so far.
It was the same ask that was made of him at Selhurst Park when he was operating as a slightly deeper central attackingMidfielder. He has been used as a false nine and a wing-back on occasion, and has been craving consistency.
Willian was introduced to high expectations in west London when he was given the No. 10 shirt from Hazard, a player who was almost single-handedly at times during his seven-year stay at the club.
This was his sixth goal in the European competition, his first at home, and an overall display that will make him difficult to drop for Sunday's Carabao Cup final. You can stream live on the internet.
The focus was today on intensity, high-speed game and also hard work off the ball to have intensive team work.
I said before the game that he was a little bit tired. I can understand how mentally and physically tired they are. It is similar to this. We went for three other players today. Kai gives a lot of high-intensity metres for the team. We have four days to recover and Lukaku has every chance to play.
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It wasn't the moment after the match when everyone was focused on the few touches he had to put him into the fire. It was the right time to take a step back.
The focus is huge because we have a strong win, a strong performance and almost every question is about Romelu. Nine other players did not play. We should never forget that this is a team sport.
The price was the win. After six minutes in the second half, Mateo Kovacic hobbled off with an injury. Both are doubts for Sunday, but they did not affect things here with Havertz leading from the front.
The work rate off the ball was Exemplified by the tackle that Pulisic produced to dispossess Sanches. A chant of USA! USA! USA! emerged from the stand in recognition of his efforts.
It will make Pulisic feel more at home.