With Edouard Mendy again ruled out through injury Kepa Arrizabalaga is likely to start a second consecutive game for Chelsea when we host Aston Villa tonight. Ahead of the Carabao Cup third round tie, Thomas Tuchel has been discussing Kepa’s current state of mind and the price tag he believes the goalkeeper is no longer burdened by.
Kepa was impressive at Tottenham on Sunday when asked to step in for the injured Mendy, who remains unavailable for selection. Tuchel hopes to have him back for the visit of Man City this weekend.
If is not available, however, the boss has no worries because of Kepa’s form and positive attitude. His only involvement prior to the big London derby victory was of course his dramatic intervention in the Super Cup shoot-out last month.
‘He seems happy to me,’ said Tuchel.
‘Everybody wants to have more minutes, but we have contracts for 24 players including the goalkeepers. We simply cannot give everybody the same amount of minutes.
‘It is more dramatic for the goalkeepers because obviously you don’t change within games, so the situation seems worse, but I don’t feel Kepa like this. I feel an open guy, a humble guy, a super nice guy, a top, top professional, and a big part of this squad.
‘I feel him happy. Maybe he could be happier in terms of having more minutes, but I don’t feel him concerned in the moment because he is pushing and he is fighting for his chances.’
Since joining Chelsea Kepa has had some highs and lows in our goal, from winning the Europa League in 2019 to some errors that meant Willy Caballero took his place in the side in 2020, prior to Mendy’s arrival as our new number one.
Despite his Chelsea career not panning out exactly as he would have hoped, Kepa is at peace with his current status in the squad according to Tuchel, who also believes he is now unaffected by the price tag that accompanied his move to Stamford Bridge.
‘You cannot force situations. His mindset is calm and he is positive. It was not necessary for him to prove to me he is a good goalkeeper. I see it every day in training.
‘Maybe he is at the point where he does not try too hard to convince everybody he is worth the money the club paid. Who cares about the money? Okay, the money was paid, so what now? We have two strong goalkeepers and we need both of them. If you need any proof, look at the weekend, when he was the key factor to have a clean sheet.
‘If the money is too high or too low, these measurements do not exist for us. I have a feeling the pressure is off his shoulders.’