After starting back-to-back games for the Blues for the first time in seven months, Kepa Arrizabalaga reflected on his joy at being back out on the pitch and his chance of a fresh start under new head coach Graham Potter.
The 27-year-old has been between the sticks for consecutive Champions League outings against Dinamo Zagreb and RB Salzburg, with Edouard Mendy currently nursing a troublesome knee injury.
While there was disappointment at a late concession and the dropping of two points against the Austrians at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, Kepa reflected on the start of a new era and how the initial signs within the performance were positive.
‘It’s a Champions League game at home so we expect to win,’ he stated. ‘The last few days have been a little bit crazy and we are sad obviously because we achieved big things together with Thomas and we had very good times with him.
‘Now there is a new start with Graham and some different ideas. We wanted to start strong and be in front, like what happened in the game, and then to control and use their frustrations to go higher and press.
‘I thought we did that. We had chances to score more goals and we did a lot of positive things. There is frustration a little bit because we drew when we needed these points but we are improving and it’s just the beginning.’
Our Spanish shot-stopper has taken the opportunity presented by Mendy’s absence and feels encouraged at the chance of a fresh start under a new manager.
‘Last season when I played I felt really well but it was just 15 games or something like this,’ he continued. ‘It’s not a big amount so now when I have the opportunity, I try to do my best and to help the team like I do in the last games.
‘I’m happy with my performances and happy again to enjoy the Champions League games on the pitch so it’s a fresh start and I’m happy and I will take it.'
Potter’s impact in a few short days has been focused on optimism and Kepa has already felt those enthusiastic vibes from the new manager, even though he concedes it will take time for their impact to be truly felt among the squad.
‘He is very positive in his mind and he tries to give us this positivity,’ he added. ‘Obviously we changed a couple of things in the line-up and structure so we have to keep adjusting things, keep watching and understanding how we play, and from that point we go forward.
‘We want to have good presence on the pitch, take the ball and attack as much as we can, and when we lose the ball try to recover as soon as possible. It’s been two or three training sessions with the new manager so it’s just the beginning but it’s been a positive beginning and a good point to start.’