Gerardo Martino revealed that Christian Pulisic is one of “the most unsettling players” he’s laid eyes on and warned Mexico to mark the United States star well.
Pulisic and the USA will meet Mexico in Chicago for the CONCACAF Gold Cup final on Sunday hoping to win a seventh title in the competition.
Naturally, the pressure will be on the Yanks to deliver in front of their home supporters. Although they can take comfort from their performances in the competition, so far, after winning all five of their matches in convincing fashion.
At the centre of things has been Pulisic, who scored twice in last Thursday’s 3-1 semi-final win over Jamaica. Therefore, all eyes will likely be on the new €64m Chelsea signing for Sunday’s final.
And even Mexico manager Martino admits that his players could be in big trouble if they fail to deal with the threat of Pulisic adequately.
“I think Christian Pulisic is one of the greatest emerging players in world football in this era, without a doubt,” said Martino, according to AOL.
“He’s one of the most unsettling players I’ve seen in recent times. And I believe that if tomorrow we don’t give him special attention, above all when we are attacking, then we won’t do well.”
The former Barcelona and Argentina boss added: “He’s a player we have to give a lot of attention because he can decide a game on his own.”
Pulisic has scored three goals and provided as many assists in his five matches in the Gold Cup.
“When I think about this month for him it’s been a lot of personal development in terms of him blossoming with his personality within the group, his importance to the team on the field,” said USA coach Gregg Berhalter.
“The skills haven’t changed from a month ago, but in terms of his role, what he’s comfortable with, how he’s embracing his role within the team, and his role on and off the field, I think it’s been really nice to see.
“The most important thing we’ve focused on is giving Christian flexibility, putting him in position where he could affect the game in a number of different ways.
“We wanted to play him central, but also get him wide. When you think about him being central, arriving in the penalty box, the two goals [against Jamaica] were a result of him being in good positions to be able to finish off plays that end up in front of goal.
“When you think about some of the assists he’s had they’ve come in wide areas, notably against Curacao.
“With Christian, we know he’s a top talent and we want to get him into position to affect the game. We know he can affect the game on an individual level, and he’s shown that so far in the tournament.”
The USA and Mexico Gold Cup final will begin at 03:00 (CET).