Christian Pulisic was 'sad to see' Jurgen Klinsmann leave national team

Christian Pulisic has admitted he was sad to see Jurgen Klinsmann fired as U.S. national team coach, but he's also looking forward to playing with new manager Bruce Arena.

In an exclusive interview, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder told ESPN FC's Raphael Honigstein that he owed Klinsmann, who parted ways with U.S. Soccer in November, for giving him the chance to show he was ready for the senior team.

"I was sad to see Jurgen leave," Pulisic said. "He was very important, he always trusted me, gave me the opportunities to go out on the field and show what I can do.

"He always gave me those chances and I made sure I talked to him after and I told him 'thank you very much' because he really did, he really did help me with that side of the game, with the national team.

"But then again, moving forward, I'm excited about the future, about working with Bruce Arena and the new guys."

Pulisic said he's already been in touch with Arena and that the former LA Galaxy boss told him he was excited to work with him in the national team.

The 18-year-old was also quick to credit his Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel for pushing him and giving him chances to play in the Bundesliga and Champions League, with Pulisic adding he knew he'd have to up his game this season.

"I knew I had some new competition coming in, some younger players, some more experienced players," Pulisic said of his situation at Dortmund. "But I just said to myself if I work hard in training that I would earn my spot. That's what I did and I feel that I've earned it. It's been great to get chance to play in these big games.

"At the beginning of the season I didn't think I was at a high enough level [to belong to this team] and I worked really hard at it. I knew I had to step up my game to get the chances that I did. I especially worked at being sharper in the final third. "

Pulisic, who has two goals and five assists in all competitions for Dortmund in 2016-17, said he wants to repay the faith Tuchel has shown in him by making an improvement in the league -- they are currently in sixth place, 12 points behind leaders Bayern Munich. The team will also be trying to advance from the Champions League last-16, where his team are paired with Benfica.

"It's incredible what he's done, not just for me but for other young players," Pulisic said of Tuchel. "I'm just thankful for the opportunities I got. Right from the beginning, when I started for the pro team a year ago, he always trusted me and told me if I was good enough he'd always play me. I'm excited for those chances.

"I think this team will show a big improvement in the league. We talked about it together, we've set our goals, we know exactly what we want from the season, and we're ready. And we hope that people will see how hard we're going to work and what we're going to do the rest of the season."