Amsterdam is not a city synonymous with modesty.
But as superlatives tumbled from the mouth of Frank Lampard following the biggest win of his Chelsea tenure, downstairs the mood was more subdued.
Christian Pulisic had just enjoyed the finest night of short career in English football.
The 21-year-old has struggled for gametime since his £58million arrival from Borussia Dortmund and against Ajax he started on the bench once again.
Christian Pulisic was ‘magnificent’ against Ajax, according to BT Sport’s Owen Hargreaves
For the third game running, though, he took his chance and it was his quick feet that set up fellow replacement Michy Batshuayi’s late winner.
‘The manager told me: “Go in, make an impact, make a difference” and I’m happy I was able to help a little bit with that,’ he said afterwards.
‘I go in to give absolutely everything and do the best I can with the opportunity I’m given. I’m happy with the short time I was given to make an assist, make a difference and obviously I want to be on the field.’
The American has never been much of a talker. Fortunately Lampard was more gushing.
‘Sometimes the toughest part of management is leaving out players who really want to play week in and week out,’ the manager said.
‘I see the big picture with him. I want him to be successful at this club because he’s a good lad, he wants to do very well, that’s very clear.
The American winger came off the bench and made an impression for the Blues
‘Acting like he’s acting, training like he’s trained the last two or three weeks, playing like he’s played the last two or three weeks obviously makes me very, very happy.’
In the stands of the Johan Cruyff Arena on Wednesday sat another satisfied observer.
US coach Gregg Berhalter had travelled to Amsterdam to watch his nation’s star player. ‘It’s important for him to know that we’re supporting him,’ he said.
Particularly at the moment. The States are struggling and Pulisic hasn’t had it easy either.
After a tough first couple of months on these shores, the American stood at the foot of a well-worn path.
Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne are just two youngsters who, in recent years, arrived at Chelsea shouldering high expectations, only to be chewed up and spat out.
Frank Lampard says the youngster is in his long term plans despite him not starting much
Berhalter is confident Pulisic won’t join that list. Peeling back the curtain on his enigmatic talisman ever so slightly, the coach commented: ‘He’s intense and some people mistake him being quiet for him being shy.
‘But he has this intensity that you like to see, it’s almost like an acute focus that when he’s on the field performing there is this sharpness and intensity that as a manager you can appreciate and really like.’
So, as Lampards puts his faith in youth across the pitch, Berhalter believes his winger ‘fits perfectly’ into this more ‘nurturing environment’.
‘Let’s not forget that he’s not the only player in the world who has had a challenge adapting at the beginning of a move. Look at (Antoine) Griezmann in Barcelona, (Eden) Hazard in Real Madrid. These are top, top players. Salah and De Bruyne at Chelsea, of course,’ he said.
‘I have a lot of confidence in Frank Lampard that he’s doing those things to get Christian to where he needs to be.’
He added: ‘This is a different model… I had the pleasure of visiting Chelsea when (Jose) Mourinho was there and it was amazing just to see the squad, every player one to 28 was a full international. Now it’s younger talent and I think, in my opinion, it’s a more nurturing environment.’
Pulisic of Chelsea battles for possession with Ciaran Clark and Jetro Willems of Newcastle
They seem a welcoming bunch, too.
‘Being the only American, it’s nice, I can go with some of the French guys, the Brazilians,’ Pulisic laughed. ‘It’s a good mix and I’ve been really close with everyone. It’s great just getting to know all of the guys.’
Captain Cesar Azpilicueta added: ‘We need to keep calm, to work with the young lads, we know that… I am very pleased for Christian because it is a good moment for him.’
It’s easy to forget that Pulisic is just 21. Berhalter admits the winger, who has carried the burden of expectation back home for some time, is already in ‘unprecedented territory’ for an American player.
That has afford him celebrity status in a country where football still plays second or third fiddle.
‘He always has time for fans,’ said Berhalter, a former team-mate of David Beckham. ‘He’s very aware of his responsibility and I think he’s a great ambassador to our sport.’
But as his star has risen, so the pressure has snowballed. This summer, his arrival coincided with the start of Chelsea’s transfer ban and that he was their only new arrival merely intensified the glare of the spotlight. Suddenly the hole left by Eden Hazard had stretch even wider.
‘I see the big picture with him. I want him to be successful at this club,’ Lampard said of Pulisic
‘The fee is it what it is. But once you’re on the field you’re a player. Once you’re a player you have the same challenges that every new player has to a new league,’ Berhalter said.
‘English football is different to German football (and) he is meeting new players for the first time, new manager for the first time, new team mates.’
Of course, it’s a hurdle Pulisic has already overcome once. He moved to Germany aged just 16 but the goalposts have moved since 2015.
Now every move he or Lampard makes is scanned with a fine-tooth comb.
‘The outside stuff is not real, it’s really not,’ added Berhalter. ‘When you analyse the transfer fee, when you analyse who he’s replacing, when you analyse he’s the only guy they bought. That’s not real. What’s real is this kid is in the Premier League, trying to make his name, trying to perform.’
‘I basically tried to shut my ears to too much of the outside talk,’ he said. ‘With a big player, there’s a lot said and if you listen to it all the time, you can wonder what you’re doing.’
He stuck to his guns and on Wednesday, Chelsea reaped the rewards.
‘I’m never going to let that put me down by not playing, I’m going to keep fighting because this is where I want to be,’ Pulisic said. ‘I came here for a reason, I want to be here and I want to make a difference.’ Slowly but surely, it’s all falling into place.