Christian Pulisic was delighted to hear England fans booing Gareth Southgate’s side after USA held the Three Lions to creditable World Cup draw last night. The Chelsea forward has endured a turbulent season for his club, but delivered a man of the match performance for his national team and came closest to breaking the deadlock with a shot that rattled the crossbar in the first half.
USA came into the contest as significant underdogs and under pressure to qualify for the knockout stages following their draw with Wales earlier this week when they were pegged back by a late Gareth Bale penalty. Pulisic believes his side can head into Tuesday’s decisive Group B clash against Iran in confident mood after keeping England at bay with the jeers Southgate’s men were subjected to representing evidence of USA’s accomplished display.
‘I guess that’s a positive sign when you play for the other team,’ Pulisic told reporters when asked what he made of the response of England’s fans to a meek showing. ‘I thought it was a really good performance for us. I thought there were stretches of the game where we had control and we pushed them back in their half.
‘Opposing fans don’t like to see that especially when we’re the quote, unquote, underdogs but I thought we went to toe to toe with them and put in a really good performance.’ Southgate, meanwhile, has been in this position before. England drew their second group stage game against Scotland at last summer’s European Championships before storming to the semi finals and the under-fire coach is preaching calm.
He said: ‘Were we booed off though? I’m not sure if that was aimed at us. I don’t know. ‘Personally, I’m pleased with the application of the players. To come off the high of the performance of the other day and find that same energy and quality was always going to be a challenge.
‘Of course, I want our fans to go home happy and our fans at home to have a smile on their faces. We haven’t quite managed to achieve that today. But people are going to react how they react. ‘We have to stay calm in these moments. We’ve been through tournaments before. We had a unique thing getting through the last two in two games. This is the tournament of external noise and we’ll add another layer to that, I’m sure.
‘The players were very down and disappointed afterwards, but I told them that’s not how it’s going to be. I thought they showed another side and that’s going to be important going forward.’