Lukaku returning to Chelsea 'to prove people wrong'
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Thomas Tuchel has praised Edouard Mendy’s professionalism for his accepting nature after the Chelsea boss controversially brought on Kepa Arrizabalaga for the Super Cup penalty shoot-out against Villarreal. The Spaniard has had a tough time since joining Chelsea back in 2018.
He often fell out of favour under Frank Lampard before Mendy was signed last summer as Chelsea’s new first-choice.
The Senegal international remained the No 1 option when Tuchel came in, but there was seemingly more opportunities for Kepa to prove himself.
Mendy was chosen to start in the Super Cup against Villarreal as expected, but he was unable to see out the entirety of the match.
Tuchel surprised everyone when, in the closing seconds of extra time, he took Mendy off for Kepa in preparation for penalties.
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It proved to be a stroke of genius as Kepa became an instant Chelsea hero when he saved Raul Albiol’s spot kick to win the match.
It was noticeable that Mendy was one of the first players to come up and celebrate with Kepa after his match-winning save.
And Tuchel explained his decision to sub on Kepa wasn’t a spontaneous decision.
“It was not spontaneous. We talked about it with the goalkeepers after the first cup game against Barnsley. We had some statistics. We were well prepared,” he said.
“Kepa has the best percentage at saving penalties, the analysing guys and goalkeeping coaches showed me the data.
“We spoke to the players that this could happen when we play in knockout games. It’s fantastic how Edouard accepted it.
“There is proof that Kepa is better in this discipline. They’re team players. Edouard does not show the pride to not step off the field. He was happy to do it for the team and take this for the team.”
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