Former Christian Pulisic’s former coach has revealed how the 20-year-old ‘rejected a move to Manchester United because of Jose Mourinho.’
The United States international eventually joined Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund after his father rejected Mourinho because of his inability to promote young players to the first team.
But it now transpires that Pulisic could have arrived in England sooner in a switch to United while Mourinho was in charge, report the Daily Mail.
Robin Walker, who coached Pulisic as a youngster when he was at non-League side Brackley Town, told the Telegraph: ‘I’m a Chelsea fan, I grew up in London supporting them. When I was in Dortmund last year, I told him that he had to come.
‘He wouldn’t go to Manchester United because of Jose Mourinho. His father couldn’t stand Mourinho, because he didn’t promote young players. It was at that point I asked: “What about London? That’s where it’s at.”
‘I was trying to sell the city. His agent agreed, saying: “When you make these decisions, it’s all about investment and property.” I was delighted that he did sign.’
Mourinho was sacked in December and was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has looked to place his faith in young players such as Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay, Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood.
Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma has expressed his happiness to be back in the club after his three years in limbo, describing his route into the first team as a “very, very long journey”.
The 24-year-old’s progress was halted by a knee injury in 2016 that kept him out of action for more than nine months.
He was then sent out on loan to Stoke, during which time the club were relegated and then, last season, Everton, where he impressed.
There was hope at Goodison Park that he would sign on a permanent deal but Lampard, having replaced Maurizio Sarri, brought Zouma back to Stamford Bridge and has gone on to show faith in the centre-back.
The France defender has started each of Chelsea’s three games this season. They have yet to win under Frank Lampard and Zouma played poorly in the opening-day defeat by Manchester United but there have been encouraging signs.
For Zouma, in particular, there are reasons to feel upbeat, report the Guardian.
“It has been a very, very long journey. I don’t want to talk about that now, because that is the past but I fought very hard,” said Zouma after Sunday’s 1-1 home draw with Leicester.
“People don’t know, people don’t see but I was in the shadow, working hard to get back because I had a very bad injury. I was off for one year but people forget that and don’t see. But I always believed in myself. My family was always there behind me and now I am back here, I am very happy to play here. I just want to keep going.
“Everything is done now. I have to do my job. I just want to work hard and play. That’s what I’m trying to do and the most important thing is the team. We need to start winning games.”
Zouma was not surprised by Lampard’s decision to start him in all three games. “That’s what I wanted,” he said.
“I am in a big club and everyone wants to play. The competition is very hard and there are a lot of talented players, so when you train you have to do it right. That’s what I am trying to do and that’s what I am working hard for.”
Zouma, along with Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, have formed part of a new and younger Chelsea and he believes they will improve the more they play together.
“We are understanding each other,” he said. “There are players who came back – like me – and other players, the younger guys who came in. Now we are starting to understand each other. We just need to be more clinical and get the wins.”
Former Chelsea star Ashley Cole has tipped Mason Mount to develop into a world class player one day.
The 20-year-old shone on his home debut against Leicester on Sunday, opening the scoring for his side in the 1-1 draw.
He pressed high on the Foxes defence, sneaking behind Wilfred Ndidi, nicking the ball from him, and then powering the ball past Kasper Schmeichel with a low drive.
Mount first started his career at Chelsea in 2005, when he was just six years old.
‘Mount is very mature for his age,’ Cole said on Sky Sports following the game. ‘He’s got a good head on his shoulders and he wants to improve all the time and he will do because he’s willing to listen.
‘He can play anywhere in the midfield, right, left, holding because his range of passing is so good. He needs to know when to slow the game down, everything doesn’t have to be 100mph. He can potentially be world class but he obviously has a lot to learn.’
Chelsea may have failed to secure a first win of the season but Mount couldn’t deny that it was a special day for him.
‘Coming through the academy, you dream of scoring your first goal and making your home debut – luckily I got both in the same day,’ the midfielder said as cited by the Daily Mail.
‘The manager wants us to press and I got on the wrong side of Ndidi, he didn’t see me coming and I made the most of it. I haven’t watched the goal back but I lost my feet as I won the tackle but there was only one thing on my mind. As a team our performance overall – there are things we need to work on.’
Chelsea defender ace Antonio Rudiger handed first team handlers cheering news as he played the whole 90 minutes for the London club’s U23s in their 3-0 win over Liverpool U23s at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.
The Germany international had surgery on his left knee four months ago after suffering a meniscus injury that ended his season.
Goals either side of the break by Michy Batshuayi preceded Faustino Anjorin’s strike 16 minutes from time as the young Reds endured a difficult evening in the capital.
Liverpool managed to withstand significant early pressure, with Morgan Boyes and Ki-Jana Hoever making last-ditch blocks to thwart Anjorin and Juan Castillo respectively inside the opening 15 minutes.
Blues goalkeeper Jamie Cumming remained untroubled, though, and Liverpool were again indebted to Kelleher for their parity midway through the half.
Chelsea’s dominance did finally tell five minutes prior to the break, however.
Batshuayi beat Sepp van den Berg to Rudiger’s lofted pass, then got back to his feet quickly after colliding with Kelleher on the edge of the box and coolly chipped into an empty net.
And, just two minutes into the second half, Batshuayi had his second of the evening.
Castillo found Anjorin with a low ball into the box from the left and, in turn, Chelsea’s No.10 fed the Belgian, who finished by side-footing first time into the roof of the net.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Jamie Cumming; Tariq Lamptey, Antonio Rudiger, Marc Guehi (c), Ian Maatsen; Clinton Mola (George McEachran 77), Billy Gilmour; Tariq Uwakwe (Thierno Ballo 75), Tino Anjorin (Marcel Lavinier 84), Juan Castillo; Michy Batshuayi
Unused subs Karlo Ziger, Charlie Brown
Scorers Batshuayi 40, 47; Anjorin 74
Liverpool Caoimhin Kelleher, Ki-Jana Hoever (Neco Williams 64), Yasser Larouci (Tony Gallacher 64), Seep van den Berg, Morgan Boyes, Herbie Kane, Harvey Elliott, Elijah Dixon-Bonner, Rhian Brewster (Bobby Duncan 64) Adam Lewis, Curtis Jones (c)
Unused subs Dan Atherton, Tom Clayton