August 25, 2019, 2:53

Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic cannot replace Eden Hazard but has different qualities, says Danny Higginbotham

Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic cannot replace Eden Hazard but has different qualities, says Danny Higginbotham

Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic cannot replace Eden Hazard, but has different qualities to the new Real Madrid player, says Sky Sports pundit Danny Higginbotham.

Pulisic joined Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund in January for a fee of £57.6m, but was loaned back to the German club for the last six months of the season.

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The 20-year-old USA international impressed in Chelsea’s UEFA Super Cup defeat to Liverpool on penalties on Wednesday night, after making his Premier League debut off the bench against Manchester United on Sunday.

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However, Higginbotham believes it will be hard for Pulisic, who scored 19 goals in four seasons at Dortmund, to replace Eden Hazard after his summer move to Real Madrid, saying: “You can’t expect that.

“People will ask the question, how do you replace Hazard? You can’t.

“What you can do is look for a player that can give great qualities. Pulisic, I must admit against United when he came on he didn’t do too much, but he was a real stand-out player against Liverpool.

“Frank Lampard will be delighted with that, he’s only a young player still getting to grips with the English side of the game, but it was great promise yesterday.

“You can’t fill Eden Hazard’s boots but what you can do is bring a player in who can bring different qualities.”

Positives for Chelsea in United loss

Lampard came under criticism after Chelsea’s 4-0 loss to Manchester United in their Premier League opener on Sunday and has been unable to add to his squad due to the club’s transfer ban.

Therefore, the former Derby manager has shown faith in his squad’s younger players with Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount both starting at Old Trafford.

Higginbotham said: “It was a great performance from United against Chelsea but I would say that the 4-0 score line probably flattered United.

“There were positives for Chelsea in that game and obviously yesterday evening there was even more positives for Chelsea, and Frank Lampard will look at that.

“There’s a lot of pressure on him in terms of not being able to bring players in, but he has given opportunities to younger players and you could see yesterday that he’s getting his message across in the way that he wants them to play.”

Is Kante still playing further forward a problem?

The Super Cup saw N’Golo Kante make his first start after returning from injury and it was a surprise to some Chelsea fans to see him play slightly more advanced from Jorginho in the midfield, which Maurizio Sarri was highly criticised for last season.

However, Higginbotham feels Lampard’s system allows Chelsea’s midfield to remain defensively stable as they rotate the attacking responsibilities.

He said: “I think because I’ve heard it mentioned since the game [against Liverpool] that everybody is saying that Sarri did it and it was seen as a huge problem, and now Lampard’s doing it and it’s not seen as a big problem.

“The problem isn’t the fact that Kante was pushing high last season, it was the fact that Jorginho didn’t really have any support.

“They’re playing 4-3-3 now but two will sit whilst one goes forward, whereas last season when they played it, Jorginho was left on his own and that’s why they were so open to the counter attack.

Source: skysports.com

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