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Christian Pulisic 'Not Trying to Fill the Gap Left By' Eden Hazard at Chelsea

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2019

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - JULY 31: Christian Pulisic of Chelsea celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the friendly match between RB Salzburg and FC Chelsea at Red Bull Arena on July 31, 2019 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by David Geieregger/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)
David Geieregger/Getty Images

Christian Pulisic wants to be his own player at Chelsea rather than try to replace Eden Hazard. 

Pulisic arrived at the club this summer, having signed in January and spent the second half of last season remaining with Borussia Dortmund on loan. Hazard, meanwhile, left for Real Madrid in June.

Per Goal, the American spoke after netting his first goals in a Chelsea shirt in Wednesday's 5-3 win over Red Bull Salzburg:

"It was a big relief to score my first goals for Chelsea.

"Being a new signing and coming into the club, I felt I needed to prove myself and wanted to show the guys early on, especially my team-mates, that I can play too. Hopefully I have done that a bit and earned their respect.

"It's what I'm out there to do. I'm in an attacking position. I want to score goals, I want to help with assists and do a lot of good things.

"I'm not trying to fill the gap left by Eden, he was an unbelievable player. I want to be my own player, to look at me like that, do the best I can for the team."

Hazard contributed 21 goals and 17 assists in all competitions for Chelsea last season, and aiming to match those targets this term would likely be unhelpful for Pulisic.

The winger's most prolific season was the most recent campaign, during which he scored seven goals in 30 games, as well as assisting a further six. It was only two more goals than he managed the season before, but in 12 fewer appearances.

Pulisic also has 13 goals in 31 appearances for the United States.

He played well for the Blues on Wednesday in what was their penultimate pre-season game:

B/R Football @brfootball

20’—Scores his first Chelsea goal 22’—Draws a penalty for Chelsea 28’—Scores his second Chelsea goal @cpulisic_10 💪 https://t.co/8RGrLSgHec

After latching on to a ball upfield, he picked out the bottom corner from the edge of the area for his first goal before racing on to a long ball and dispatching it past Cican Stankovic.

The Daily Mail's Charlie Skillen and Alex Goldberg of the CalcioLand Podcast singled him out for praise:

Charlie Skillen @charlieskillen

That was a great watch... a frankly ridiculous goal from Pedro, fantastic to see likes of Barkley and Pulisic looking so lively. Midfield already moving a lot more freely. Defending a slight concern at this point, granted.

Alex Goldberg @AlexGoldberg_

Full-Time Thoughts: • Pulisic should be viewed as a summer acquisition by Chelsea... and a damn good one • Barkley seems so thrilled to play for Lampard • Still conceding too many • Not perfect but many attacking positives

Given he made 127 senior appearances for Borussia Dortmund, it's easy to forget he's still only 20.

Realistically, in the next year or two, he won't be able to have the same kind of impact on the side as Hazard, who is in his prime.

He already has plenty to contribute in his own right, though, and as he continues to develop his game, that will only likely increase.