Pulisic tipped to be X-factor for Blues' Champions League pursuit
- Former Blue De Lucas draws parallels between the current team and that of the 2002-03 season.
- A financially struggling club, Chelsea nevertheless qualified for the Champions League.
- Gianfranco Zola was a key player for that side.
Christian Pulisic may become an X-factor in Chelsea's efforts to improve their results into this season, former Blue Quique De Lucas argues.
However, he concedes that it will be difficult for the 20-year-old player who arguably lacks such experience.
The current situation is very similar to that of 2002-03 when Chelsea could not sign any players, bar De Lucas on a free transfer, due to financial problems. That time, it was star forward Gianfranco Zola who was key for the team that eventually qualified for next season's Champions League.
And the Blues can benefit from the fact that their manager was part of that side, De Lucas argues.
Quique De Lucas during his only season with Chelsea:
"They don’t have that star figure we had on the pitch in Zola," the former midfielder told The Athletic.
"That is worrying. They need to find it. Chelsea need to find that X-factor. Maybe it will be Christian Pulisic.
"It’s difficult. No-one has that experience. For me, the one that can make the difference, albeit in a different way, has to be Frank.
"The fact he was part of the 2002-03 side who did it having only signed myself has to help him. He knows the club, what it means to play for the Chelsea shirt.
"The young players have to learn that when you put the Chelsea top on. Everyone is going to try to beat you. You have to be right at the top to win games."