Willy Caballero has revealed how he found out he would be starting against Leicester City and what Frank Lampard said to him ahead of a 2-2 draw in which he feels defensive lessons were learned.
Prior to Saturday’s 2-2 draw at the King Power Stadium, which helped us maintain our grip on fourth place, the surprise team news came through that the Argentine goalkeeper had been elevated to the starting line-up for the first time in the Premier League this season.
His previous four appearances this term had come in the domestic cups, as he has started two apiece in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup, and this is how he found out he’d be taking the gloves against the Foxes.
‘The day before the game we trained and I was with the starting XI,’ said the 38-year-old, who has now made six Premier League appearances since joining us from Manchester City in the summer of 2017.
‘It was a difficult moment for Kepa, for the team, and we respect very well each other. Also for the boss it was really tough.
‘He told me just to be confident. It was a difficult decision from him, but I just had to take it and enjoy. It was very honest, the message from him.
‘As a goalkeeper I have to switch on very quickly and be ready for this opportunity, because I’ve been working and training really hard for it.’
After a goalless first half, the Blues went in front through Toni Rudiger, only for Leicester to fire back twice to go in front. Another Rudiger header rescued a point and there were mixed feelings after the game, according to Caballero.
‘We are unhappy with the goals we conceded, but at the end of the day we have one point and it was so difficult after going 2-1 down,’ he said. It will be difficult for another team to rescue points here.
‘We didn’t do the proper job in the first half when we had three or four clear chances and we didn’t score.
‘But then the second half was a little bit crazy; we were winning, then losing. So we have to learn from this game, improve a lot because we are a little bit weak in a defensive way, and the only way is winning points. We won one point and we are happy because we could have lost.’
The Premier League’s first winter break now kicks in, with the Blues not in action again until Manchester United visit Stamford Bridge on Monday 17 February.
Caballero admitted he is unsure who will be between the sticks for that fixture but did offer one reassurance if he retains his place: he will be ready.
‘I feel great because I played and we got one point in a difficult stadium against a difficult team,’ he added.
‘We’ll see what they want to do and I’ll just keep showing that I can play and be in the starting XI for the next game, but no one is sure that they will play the next game. The message from the boss is to keep working hard in the training.
‘I had the opportunity to play and to try to enjoy it. I just have to do my job, be ready for the next game.’