Interview

Caballero ready for anything

Willy Caballero is excited ahead of the FA Cup final but thinks Chelsea need to approach the match prepared for any situation.

Having already secured our target of a top-four finish in the Premier League, we can put the cherry on the cake by beating Arsenal at Wembley to end the campaign with silverware. It is an opportunity Caballero is looking forward to, having already picked up one winner’s medal in the competition with Chelsea, when we beat Manchester United in the 2018 final.

‘It’s another great opportunity for us, for the club,’ said the goalkeeper, who signed a contract extension in May. ‘This final will be a little bit different with no supporters, but we have the same ambitions to win it again.

‘It’s exciting. First of all it’s a London derby. The final is usually a 50 per cent chance for each team, it will be so competitive. They are in the same position as us and they have won this trophy a lot of times in the past, so they’ve got experience in this trophy in particular. But for me, I wasn’t in the goal in the last cup final, so I wish I can be there to play in Wembley in this final, and hopefully we can win this time as we did against United two years ago.’

‘We will try to be focused in every situation. That sometimes is the mistake – when you are focused just on the striker or the best player, another one appears and you lose the game. So we have to be ready for any player for any set-pieces and any situation, because it’s what we did in the last game against Wolves.’

It remains to be seen whether Caballero will get the nod for the final from Frank Lampard, as he did in the previous rounds of the FA Cup and our last Premier League fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers, or if Kepa Arrizabalaga will be between the posts for the Blues at Wembley, but the Argentinian says whichever goalkeeper is chosen will have the full support of his team-mate.

‘We have a great relationship, first of all because we speak the same language. As goalkeepers we only have great moods in training and he’s been through a lot during the season, but in terms of the relationship he’s been so good.

‘He’s been behind me, helping me with everything in the games that I play, so that just says good things about him. I cannot say anything bad about him because he showed us a great face even in the worst moment for him. I just have to say the way that he was during those weeks and the last week, he was excellent. We’ve known each other for two years and last season was fantastic from him. He’s still the number one for the Spanish team so he’s a really good goalkeeper.’

Another Spaniard Caballero knows well is Pedro, whose five years at Stamford Bridge are coming to an end, and Willy admits he has mixed feelings about saying goodbye to his friend.

‘Days ago I was sad, now I’m happy for him because he will enjoy a few years in another country with different weather, a little bit closer to his family. Yes, of course I’ve been sad, because Pedro is part of the soul of the team, but also in a very good mood, always making jokes, dancing and helping the team to be in a great atmosphere.

‘Also he’s a fantastic player, he has won everything, so I just can’t say enough good words about Pedro. Of course I will miss him a lot after the last few seasons at Chelsea, talking about football, but also doing great friend stuff, so hopefully we keep this in the future.’

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