Pulisic says Chelsea ready in tight race for top-four finish

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - April 3, 2021 Chelsea's Christian Pulisic celebrates scoring their first goal Pool via REUTERS/Clive Rose

(Reuters) - Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic said the team can expect a tough challenge from fellow Premier League top-four contenders in the home stretch of the season but they are ready for the fight after Saturday's 4-1 win at Crystal Palace.

United States international Pulisic netted a brace and Kurt Zouma and Kai Havertz also struck as Chelsea responded to last weekend's 5-2 loss against West Bromwich Albion to climb to fourth with 54 points from 31 games.

Sixth-placed West Ham can leapfrog them on Sunday if they win their game in hand against Leicester City.

"It's going to be tight. We need to put some good results together. We're ready for this challenge," Pulisic told the BBC.

"We had a tough day (against West Brom). We won't win every game but the way we responded, we're definitely happy... We were playing very aggressive and that drove us through the game."

Pulisic has struggled for form and fitness this season with five goals in all competitions, but the 22-year-old backed himself to deliver in their remaining matches.

"There's been a lot of things going on this season but I'll work hard to do my best in any way I can," Pulisic said.

Havertz scored his first league goal since October and set up another for Pulisic as Chelsea scored more than two under manager Thomas Tuchel for the first time.

"It's easy to play with players that have this quality... after winning 4-1, it's easy to say you're a good attacking team - but we have to go again and after the season we can speak about it," Havertz told Sky Sports.

"I have to prove it in more games."

Chelsea next face Portugal's Porto in the Champions League quarter-final second leg on Tuesday, having won the first leg 2-0 last week.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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