Kepa praises the team effort as Chelsea book Wembley place

Kepa Arrizabalaga could not hide his delight at helping the Blues reach a fourth FA Cup semi-final in five seasons, with the goalkeeper keeping a clean sheet in our 2-0 win over Sheffield United.

The Spaniard produced a number of good stops to keep the Blades at bay, before Hakim Ziyech sealed our cup victory in injury when he added to an earlier own-goal from Oliver Norwood.

The win means we now meet Manchester City in the last four at Wembley, with Kepa pleased to get past a ‘strong and physical’ opponent in Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge yesterday.

‘It was a hard victory against a very strong team,’ said the Spaniard.

‘They pushed us hard in the second half, so for us to win the game and get to the semi-final makes us very happy. In the first half we controlled the game and had more possession but in the second half they came back strong and had some good chances to score themselves.

‘We knew it would be a physical game because Sheffield [United] play this way. They are a strong opponent with two big and physical strikers, playing the long ball up to them to try and latch onto the second. In general, I thought we defended well so to keep a clean sheet and to win is very good and we are all happy.

‘We are defending well. Right from the goalkeeper up to the strikers, it is the whole teamwork paying off.’

The clean sheet means it’s now over 11 hours since Chelsea last conceded a goal and Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start as Chelsea head coach has stretched to an incredible 14 games across three competitions – the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League.

Kepa, who has featured in the FA Cup games just as he did yesterday, has been impressed with the impact the German head coach has had and believes it is important we maintain our standards when we return after the international break, with an exciting FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City at Wembley to come.

‘We have an international break now but when we come back to play, we must continue in the way we have been playing recently. The manager has come in, we are unbeaten and we are in good form.

‘We have a lot of exciting games coming up, we must prepare well and keep going in this way.

‘We lost last season’s FA Cup final and we want to do better and win the competition this time. We are in the semi-final, a tough game at Wembley, and we have a chance to get to the final again.’

Kepa also highlighted how strong the team spirit is at Chelsea, with the goalkeeper showcasing how he helps the team regardless of whether he is on the pitch or on the bench.

‘I try to help the team always,’ the goalkeeper explained.

‘Whether I’m on the bench, or on the pitch, I like to talk and encourage the players. We are all a team, all very close, and we all want the same goal.’