Interview

Kepa happy to help the team and reach the quarter-finals

After our victory over Southampton in the Carabao Cup, Kepa Arrizabalaga was pleased to be able to play his part and feels the two teams cancelled each other out before the shoot-out.

The Spaniard made several good saves during the 1-1 draw, particularly late on in the 90 minutes, before tipping Theo Walcott’s effort onto the post in the decisive penalty shoot-out.

Having also denied Aston Villa’s Marvelous Nakamba from the spot in the previous round of the competition and made two saves in the shoot-out to decide the UEFA Super Cup this season, he clearly enjoys penalties.

‘I am confident, I feel good, I like the penalties so I am happy,’ said Kepa. ‘I am happy to help the team when I have the opportunity so I am really happy to go into the next round.’

However, the goalkeeper did admit it had been a difficult tie for the Blues before that shoot-out, as we came up against a fellow Premier League side just as determined to progress as we were.

He also felt Southampton’s mirroring of our formation contributed to the two teams largely cancelling each other out during the 90 minutes and prevented us from finding our rhythm.

‘The game was so tough from the beginning. They played one v one across the pitch, we had a lot of problems to take the ball, to step in with the ball at our feet so we played long balls, they played long balls and it was a really difficult game, but it finished in the best way.

‘We expected something like this. From the first round we have been playing against Premier League teams so we expected this.

‘Cup games are a little bit like this, both teams wanted to win so maybe we did not defend a couple of set-pieces in the best way but finally we are in the next round.’

We will discover our next Carabao Cup opponents on Saturday for the quarter-finals, which will be played on 21 and 22 December, adding further to what is set to be an especially busy winter schedule this season, with the start of the FA Cup and FIFA Club World Cup still to come.

‘Now we have time until the next round, so we have time to focus on the Premier League and the Champions League,’ added Kepa.

‘We know December and January here in England are so hard but we have a big squad, a lot of players with quality, so we are ready.’

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