Chelsea legend outlines Christian Pulisic AC Milan leadership path after Stamford Bridge exit


Legendary Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly has claimed that former Blues winger Christian Pulisic must learn vital leadership skills if he's to continue his lightning start to life with AC Milan.

The 25-year-old left Chelsea in the summer and seems to have found a resurgence in Italy after struggling for the past few seasons at Stamford Bridge. The American's slide down the pecking order started under Thomas Tuchel, who supporters always felt could never trust the winger to provide a crucial impact when needed.

Despite being promised a clean slate under Graham Potter's reign, injury problems and poor performances led to a clear distance between the star and the club, before his sale to the Serie A side was confirmed in mid-July for just £25m, less than half of the almost-£60m the Blues paid for him in 2019.

However, since his exit, for the Rossoneri before finding an assist for another ex-Chelsea star Ruben Loftus-Cheek in their 3-1 win over Cagliari last month. He then continued his fantastic form by scoring a late winner against Genoa on Tuesday night which fired Milan to the top of Serie A before the international break.

However, it's not just the star's goal involvement that has made him a threat. His link-up play with former Blues Olivier Giroud and Fikayo Tomori well as Rafael Leao has made the Italian side a huge danger to teams from all sides of the pitch.

Despite that, Desailly, who made 186 appearances for Milan and 222 for Chelsea, believes that the group must now learn how to play consistently together and highlighted Pulisic as something who needs to step up when asked to.

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"So, I still do believe that they’re a team who still have to build up knowledge and capability," he told Football Italia. "Like when you see Leao is inconsistent, he doesn’t have that consistency in the game, they still have to learn.

"Christian Pulisic also needs time to understand and accept the leadership that we’re asking of him. He wasn’t playing all the time at Chelsea and coming into Milan, he needs to understand and absorb the history of the club.

"San Siro is a magnificent garden where you have to digest the intensity of what is required every weekend. So, they don’t have the foundation yet."

Desailly continued, highlighting the history of the club and the pressure put by supporters on foreigners that come into the club to replicate that history. He said: "Yes, we have consistency with players like Fikayo Tomori, Theo Hernandez – the back four are very solid and understand the game, but it takes time and unfortunately Milan don’t have time because all the time the crowd, the fans, the media are asking Milan to be the Milan either of my generation or the one you remember with Andriy Shevchenko, Kaka and Alessandro Nesta, where they won all these trophies.

"People are expecting Milan to be at the level of these two generations of players, it’s difficult, you need international players, to need to have the foundation. At the time, the base of the foundation were Italian players.

"You need to have local players who bring that spirit, that dedication to the club, now it’s not the same anymore, the era is different. You need now to also have foreigners who identify as part of the identity of the club, to bring the team to another level."

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