Pulisic played 76 minutes of the Americans’ 0-0 draw against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, his longest outing of the season for either club or country. Now he heads back to Chelsea and will attempt to make an impression on Potter, who was named the club’s manager on Sept. 9 after Thomas Tuchel was sacked.
Pulisic has logged just 176 minutes this season for the Blues in all competitions so far this season, with all but one appearance as a substitute.
“I’m feeling good going back, honestly,” Pulisic said about his return to Chelsea. “I have a fresh start now, and I’m excited to play for the new manager. So really just looking forward to it. I just have to prove myself, as everyone does, and as I’ve done before.”
After sitting out the Americans’ 2-0 friendly defeat to Japan last Friday, Pulisic showed some flashes of his attacking ability against the Saudis, including a few forays down the wing. But like most of his teammates, he wasn’t able to provide the kind of passes that would result in a clear look at goal.
“There’s a lot of different ways to score goals, and I think there’s times where we can put more crosses in the box,” he said. “We can just be more aggressive, more relentless going forward and then just test them even more. So I think today, we had glimpses of it, just didn’t see [it] enough.”
He was pleased, however, to return to the field in a starting role with the U.S. alongside players like Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie, with whom he has a long history dating back to U.S. youth national teams.
“It was great to be back out there with the guys for sure, really happy to be playing,” Pulisic said. “I think, obviously, not the results that we were really hoping for going into the World Cup, but we’re not going to feel too disappointed going into those games because now we have a fresh start and we’re going to go into that World Cup flying.
“We just have to do everything we can to make sure we’re prepared and ready to go when that time comes.”
Pulisic appeared to show some frustration when he was substituted against Saudi Arabia — running right past manager Gregg Berhalter on the sidelines — but he said it wasn’t anything directed at the coach.
“I always want to be in the games,” Pulisic said. “I was just trying to get off the field, trying to score goals and trying to win the game. But it’s good to get some minutes in and I feel healthy.”
Pulisic acknowledged that there is a unique dynamic at work, with players heading back to their clubs even as the World Cup looms.
“It’s everyone for themselves in a sense,” he said. “But that’s the message that we have to send: Do everything that you can to prepare your body physically, mentally, as best you can to be prepared once that time comes. And if everyone does that, I think we’re going to be in good shape for the World Cup.”