Frank Lampard has stressed that he wants to be patient with Christian Pulisic after the winger started on the bench in Chelsea’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester United.
United recorded their biggest win over Chelsea at Old Trafford since 1965 with Marcus Rashford netting either side of the break and Anthony Martial and Daniel James also getting on the scoresheet in the second half.
It was a miserable start to life as a Premier League manager for Lampard and he had several selection dilemmas ahead of the match, with Chelsea unable to strengthen their squad in the summer.
Chelsea academy graduates Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham – who both had successful loan spells last season – started the clash, but there was no place for summer arrival Pulisic in Lampard’s XI.
Pulisic came on for Ross Barkley in the 58th minute, but was unable to change Chelsea’s fortunes, with Martial doubling United’s lead just seven minutes after the substitution.
Asked about the American’s omission following the defeat, Lampard explained: ‘Christian Pulisic is 20 years old, he’s come across from Dortmund, he’s going to be a fantastic player for the club, I believe.
‘He’s got great ability, you saw little moments of his acceleration on the ball today, but I’ve also got other options in midfield and in those sort of areas.
‘I don’t want to stick Christian straight into the fire without helping him along the way.
‘It was one of those games today where I thought it was better to start with Ross and Mason, who have been very strong in pre-season, and bring Christian on.
‘If the game carried on at 1-0 or we were back in the game as we should have done at that point I think he would have been a great injection.
‘In the end it was difficult for him because the game went quickly away from us.’
Mount and Abraham both received criticism from Jose Mourinho for their displays at Old Trafford and Lampard responded to his former manager’s comments in his post-match press conference.
‘He didn’t like the performance of Mason Mount? Is that what he said? Did he? wow,’ Lampard said.
‘Well, I can’t drag players out of the medical room to play if they are experienced or not, so these are the players that played in a game that we were clearly the better team for 45-60 minutes.
‘What was evident that we made individual errors that led to four goals out of their five shots. So there’s the harsh reality for us.
‘I don’t have to be too concerned about what anyone else says, pundit-wise or anyone, they have to speak.
‘At the same time, what’s clear is the squad is what we’ve got and I believe in it.
‘If we go in at half-time two or three-one up, as we probably should have done if we were more clinical and maybe had a stroke of luck here and there, the game would’ve been completely different.’