Kepa Arrizabalaga’s Chelsea future may have been unclear at times during the summer window but Thomas Tuchel has no doubts the Spaniard remains focused and ready to play whenever he’s called upon.
Goalkeeping was under the spotlight following our weekend win over West Ham, with Edouard Mendy’s complaints about a foul in the build-up to Michail Antonio’s opener falling on deaf ears from the officials.
That preceded a dramatic stoppage-time incident where the Hammers thought they had snatched an equaliser before our Senegalese stopper was given a VAR-awarded free-kick having collided with Jarrod Bowen.
Tuchel felt that both were fouls and reflected afterwards on how his number one has been unfavourably punished in recent matches.
‘It’s a very sensitive position in football in general because not everything is about pure quality and only about decision-making,’ he explained about the man between the posts. ‘It’s about the feeling that you have confidence and also luck.
‘Somebody sent me an interesting quote about Napoleon, who asked his generals to not only have the best quality but also that he needs them to be lucky generals. This is what you need as well from leaders and from goalkeepers, that they have the kind of momentum where if they do a little mistake, it’s not punished.
‘At the moment, he [Mendy] gets punished a lot for not a lot of what he does wrong but there are no doubts in my mind. We are aware he is in that kind of situation but the situation is calm. We have two fantastic goalkeepers and two fantastic guys.’
Kepa was linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge before the transfer deadline and Tuchel admitted that the 27-year-old had taken the time to explore his options over the summer.
However, the Chelsea head coach claimed he was more than happy that a departure did not materialise and was open to returning him to the starting team whenever the situation required.
‘He tried and checked his options, which we were aware of,’ said Tuchel. ‘They were not satisfying for him or for us so he stayed and I’m very happy about that.
‘I was always very clear directly with him that I would love him to stay and my point of view is that he’s absolutely ready to play. It’s on us if we give him the chance or not but he’s 100 per cent ready with how he behaves and trains.’