Reece James hailed by Christian Pulisic after Chelsea’s Juventus demolition: ‘The sky is the limit for him’

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·3-min read
Reece James hailed by Christian Pulisic after Chelsea’s Juventus demolition: ‘The sky is the limit for him’
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Christian Pulisic says the “sky is the limit” for Reece James and backed the wing-back to finish as Chelsea's top scorer this season after another virtuoso performance in Tuesday night's 4-0 win over Juventus.

James scored a superb half-volley to double Chelsea's lead and had a hand in their third and fourth goals as they booked their place in the Champions League knockouts with a game to spare.

Chelsea only need to match Juve's result against Malmo when they visit Zenit St. Petersburg next month to top the group after inflicting the Italian club's biggest ever defeat in the competition and laying down a marker for the rest of the Europe.

James was at the heart of the holders' performance, lashing a half-volley past Wojciech Szczesny ten minutes after the interval and controlling the ball with a deft touch in the build-up to Callum Hudson-Odoi's close-range finish, which came after substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek danced into the Juve box.

The England international, who is now Chelsea's top scorer this season, also created Timo Werner's tap-in with almost the last kick of the game, switching the ball to Hakim Ziyech with a raking pass.

"Absolutely we're all impressed," Pulisic, who played as a false nine, told Standard Sport. "What he can do on the field is pretty special. He's got so much ability, so many different ways to help the team. The sky is the limit for him.

"Honestly, the way he is playing right now and the way he strikes the ball, I wouldn't be surprised [if he stayed top scorer].

"That's what’s great about our system – it allows him to attack a lot. He was really strong last night and you could see how much he helped us in attack."

Trevoh Chalobah opened the scoring by sweeping home after 25 minutes on a fine night for Chelsea's academy graduates.

Tuchel was also boosted by the return to the squad of Romelu Lukaku and Werner, while Pulisic started for the first time since August after his goal from the bench against Leicester at the weekend.

Reece James was the star again as Chelsea routed Juventus in the Champions League (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Reece James was the star again as Chelsea routed Juventus in the Champions League (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

"I'm feeling really good," said the USA international. "My body is feeling much better and I'm getting even better with more time on the pitch and starting to gain fitness.

"It was quite a tough injury to be honest to deal with. There were times when I thought I could come back but I was still dealing with too much pain. Now I'm in a much better place and I'm really happy with the way it feels. We go from there."

The only concerns for Tuchel were injuries to N'Golo Kante and Ben Chilwell, who both suffered twisted knees.

Chilwell looked in considerable pain as he was helped off the field by two physios in the second half and he will be assessed on Wednesday.

“It worries me because he was in such a fantastic moment, like Reece on the other side," Tuchel said. "They were in the best shape they could possibly be. So strong, full of confidence, and quality.

“He was in a lot of pain and now he feels a bit better. We will have the medical examination tomorrow.”

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