The United States international registered a vital strike for the Blues on French soil as they booked a Champions League quarter-final berth
Christian Pulisic admits that his well-taken goal for Chelsea on the stroke of half-time against Lille was “really important”, with the United States international helping to leave the Blues “exactly where we want to be”.
It appeared at one stage in a Champions League last-16 outing on French soil that the defending European title holders may be left sweating on a quarter-final berth, with Burak Yilmaz firing the home side in front from the penalty spot.
Thomas Tuchel’s side offered the perfect response, though, to seeing their aggregate lead cut in half, with Pulisic’s effort in first-half injury-time added to by club captain Cesar Azpilicueta after the break.
Pulisic was delighted to fire home from a tight angle and give Chelsea renewed belief, with the USMNT star also taking the time to acknowledge “an amazing pass” from Jorginho that allowed him to deliver a composed finishing touch.
He told Chelsea’s official website after putting in a Man of the Match performance against Lille: “It was a really good goal we got right before half-time to calm us down a bit and in the end we should be proud.
“It’s not easy to get a result here and we did that. Going into half-time 1-0 down would have been tough so it was definitely helpful.
“We know they’re a good team and coming here is never easy.
“In the first half they were strong and there was a good atmosphere in the stadium. They put a lot of pressure on us right away.
“They gave us a lot of trouble and then with the handball penalty they were back in the game. We made a few changes and were able to calm the game down a bit with some possession but the goal we scored before half-time was really important because it restored confidence.”
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Chelsea, who edged out domestic rivals Manchester City in the 2021 Champions League final to capture a prestigious continental crown, are now safely through to the last eight.
The quarter-final draw is due to take place on Friday, with Pulisic of the opinion that the Blues – who are also chasing down a top-four finish and FA Cup glory this season – can continue to compete on multiple fronts.
He added: “We’re in the quarter-finals – no matter how we did it, it’s done.
“We’re in the top eight teams and that’s exactly where we want to be.
“There are so many different competitions, so many games and a lot to play for so we’re just going to keep pushing from here.”
Chelsea, who are being prevented from selling tickets at present as a result of sanctions imposed on owner Roman Abramovich, will be back in action on Saturday when facing Middlesbrough in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.