Christian Pulisic admitted to a sense of relief after his first Chelsea goals arrived in a flood during a 4-2 win at Burnley on Saturday.
The £58million signing from Borussia Dortmund opened his account with a perfect hat-trick – left-foot, right-foot and header – as Frank Lampard’s side recorded a seventh straight win in all competitions.
Even more remarkable was that Pulisic delivered on his first league start since August as he continues to adapt to the English game.
He looked fully acclimatised at Turf Moor, scoring his first Premier League goal in the 21st minute when he punished a Matthew Lowton mistake and only getting better as the game went on.
“Of course there is a sense of relief,” the 21-year-old said. “You could see that in my emotions after the first goal, that relief of getting my first goal and being able to help my team at this level.
“It’s really good for me.”
Pulisic has had to endure a sometimes frustrating wait for his chance but said he had never expected to walk straight into the Chelsea team.
“I wanted to be on the field as much as I could right from the start,” he said. “That is everyone’s goal. But I didn’t come here expecting everything to be easy and have an easy route and start every game.
“It’s not always that easy. So I came in had to work for my spot just like everyone does. I’m proud of the journey I’ve had so far.
“(Lampard) believes in me and he’s told me that. You have to keep working hard in training and earn my spot, that’s how it is at the highest level. I’m going to continue to do so. This is hopefully just the start.”
Pulisic replaced Callum Hudson-Odoi in Lampard’s side at Turf Moor, the only change to the team that had won 1-0 over Ajax in Amsterdam on Wednesday, but did all he could to prove he deserves more regular inclusion.
“Selection problems for me are difficult all the time but it is great for me,” Lampard said.
“I am delighted for him. To see him come in and impact the game like he did. It lifts everybody around him so it is good. Of course he gives himself a great chance of playing in the games coming up.”
Given the price tag on his head, there was a degree of pressure on Pulisic when he arrived at Stamford Bridge just as Eden Hazard was leaving for Real Madrid.
Lampard never saw the American as a direct replacement, but believes that alongside Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and others, he can ensure the club do not miss the Belgian too much.
“Obviously there is a transition when you lose a player as impactful as Eden,” Lampard said.
“He scored or created nearly 50 percent of our goals last year so you have to accept that and look for where else in our team can we come up with that sort of end product and we do have the players to do it.
“We have attacking players that want to score goals, a team that want to move the ball quickly, we want to get the ball into wide areas, sometimes we won’t be able to play through teams but at the minute we are scoring goals so we have to continue in that vein.”
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