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Frank Lampard singles out Christian Pulisic for praise – and defends decision to not use him earlier

Christian Pulisic

Frank Lampard has defended his decision to ease Christian Pulisic into the Chelsea team this season.

The United States international was only occasionally involved in the opening weeks of the campaign, but has since exploded into life.

The former Borussia Dortmund man has scored five times in his last three Premier League games, including a hat-trick in a 4-2 win at Burnley and a goal in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Crystal Palace.

Pulisic is now one of the first names on Lampard’s team sheet, having been restricted to just three top-flight starts between the start of the season and late October.

But the Chelsea boss insists Pulisic’s excellent form is not vindication for his decision to hold him back early on.

“I don't think it's vindication, I think it's more that Christian came from another league and didn't have a break [after the Gold Cup].

“He played some games early on and the pace of the Premier League is tough for any player, it's been proven time and time again.

“But with Christian, I always believed that he had huge talent and was going to be a big player for us, and he's absolutely showing that.

"I thought he was first-class today, as he has been recently. Energy, movement of the ball, slipping past people, working off the ball and the quality. He's getting into areas and scoring in and around the six-yard box, which I think is a huge thing for any wide player."

"The only frustration is he comes off with a bit of an injury, which he was going to get subbed off for before his goal. He's got a bit of a hip issue but I'm hoping it's not too bad because the way he's in full flow at the minute is great to see.”

Chelsea’s triumph over Palace moved them to within five points of Premier League leaders Liverpool, who have a game in hand.

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