“I just have to give credit where credit’s due and it does frustrate me a little bit, and just seeing just all the negative press towards him that people tell me about, and I can’t fully understand it exactly,” Pulisic told ESPN’s Herculez Gomez in an interview for Futbol Americas.
“He’s come in and won the Nations League, won the Gold Cup, we win the Nations League again. Had a solid World Cup. Are there things that you can criticize here and there? Sure. And I think he’d agree with that, but it just seems a bit crazy to me.”
The United States Soccer Federation announced last week that Berhalter, who coached the team from late 2018 through the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, would return as coach. His contract expired Dec. 31 amid an outside investigation into a domestic violence altercation between him and his now-wife in 1991. When the investigation concluded in March, it cleared Berhalter to again be considered for the job.
Pulisic never specifically lobbied for Berhalter to return publicly but lauded the job he did whenever asked about it during the time in which Berhalter was out of contract.
New U.S. sporting director Matt Crocker said players were consulted during the search process; however, Pulisic said he did not find out Berhalter had been hired until he was asked about it last week immediately after the team’s convincing 3-0 victory against Mexico in the Nations League semifinals.
Asked if he thinks Berhalter can take the team to the next level, Pulisic said, “I absolutely think he can do it, but I think just the players in this group are so hungry no matter who the coach is.”
The United States’ 2-0 win on Sunday against Canada secured the team’s third straight major Concacaf trophy, and a mostly new roster has gathered ahead of the Gold Cup, which starts Saturday against Jamaica in Chicago.
Only five players from the Nations League roster — goalkeepers Matt Turner and Sean Johnson, defender Miles Robinson, midfielder Alan Sonora and forward Alex Zendejas — are participating in the Gold Cup.
“Last weekend, we took care of business and we got a trophy and now it’s time to completely shift gears and win another one,” Turner said Thursday. “We were able to do that in 2021 and we know how great that was for our federation and for our player pool and it gave a lot of guys opportunities that wouldn’t have presented themselves otherwise.”
For Pulisic, the time away will be a time to rest and find a resolution to his club situation. After a season in which playing time was spotty at Chelsea, the expectation is that Pulisic will land somewhere new before the end of the summer transfer window.
“It’s absolutely a time where I need to figure out what’s going to be best for my future and be somewhere where I can go and play and be trusted and feel good in what I’m doing,” Pulisic said. “I want to find that joy at a club level again, for sure.”
Pulisic hits back at critics of U.S. coach Berhalter