Christian Pulisic in action against Honduras on Wednesday night. (Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports)
Given that he traveled from Minnesota to London on Thursday, it was not surprising that Christian Pulisic was not in the squad for Chelsea’s FA Cup fourth-round match against Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says that he will consult with team doctors over whether the U.S. men’s national team forward should go from the freezing cold of a World Cup qualifier to the heat of the United Arab Emirates in the Club World Cup.
There would be a 72-degree swing in playing temperatures.
Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Honduras in St. Paul, Minn. was played in zero degrees temperatures with wind-chill factors reaching minus 12.
Pulisic came off the bench in the second half to score the final goal. He had started the opening two games of the winter window, which also was held in freezing conditions.
“I understood that it was like a bit of a revenge from the U.S. for the hot temperatures in Honduras, Tuchel said during a press conference in London on Friday. “I don’t know if I would have been there out coaching, I’m not so good in these kinds of temperatures and the chill factor. I’m happy that I was not involved, having to scout it would have been even worse, being on the tribune.
“To be serious, for him it’s quite an adaption to play in -16 Celsius [3 degree Fahrenheit] and then go to Abu Dhabi and play in +24 Celsius [75 degree Fahrenheit]. For him and Thiago Silva [who was involved in Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers], they did not have the break, they have some days off now. Christian will arrive tomorrow to travel with us to Abu Dhabi and see how he adapts to this kind of extreme change.
“I don’t know [what it will do to the body]. I will have to ask the doctor. It cannot be too healthy I guess, having jet lag and some flights in between, I guess you can do nicer things to your body than this. We will have to speak to the doctor and take care of him.”
In an unrelated development, Tuchel tested positive for COVID-19 and didn’t coach in the FA Cup match, the English Premier League team announced Saturday.
Chelsea said that Tuchel will follow necessary self-isolation protocols and that the hoped to join up with the squad in Abu Dhabi later next week.
Assistant coach Arno Michels directed the Blues in Tuchel’s absence. According to the Chelsea website, he said that he would be in close communication with Tuchel.