Frank Lampard to hand ousted No 1 Kepa Arrizabalaga a rare start against Krasnodar after being impressed with how he dealt with losing his starting place to Edouard Mendy
- Frank Lampard confirmed Kepa Arrizabalaga will start against Krasnodar
- Chelsea take on the Russian side in the final Champions League group game
- The Blues have already secured progression to the knockout stages
- Kepa lost his starting place to Edouard Mendy after a series of mistakes
Kepa Arrizabalaga will be handed a rare start when Chelsea complete their Champions League group stage in Tuesday night’s dead-rubber against Krasnodar.
The £72million goalkeeper has struggled under Frank Lampard, making a series of costly errors and playing only once since Chelsea signed Edouard Mendy.
But Kepa has impressed Lampard with his response and will be rewarded with a start on Tuesday night.
Frank Lampard has confirmed Kepa Arrizabalaga will start for Chelsea against Krasnodar
The Chelsea boss said he had no qualms about putting the Spaniard back into the team
‘I’m very pleased with Kepa. His reaction has been absolutely spot-on,’ the Chelsea boss said on Monday. ‘Tomorrow is obviously an opportunity to give Edou a rest and give Kepa a game. He’s training well and deserves it.’
Chelsea have already secured top spot in Group E, so Lampard can give fringe players a chance to ‘show they deserve to play more’.
Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi will miss out with hamstring injuries but 19-year-old midfielder Billy Gilmour starts at Stamford Bridge.
‘It’s not something you can switch on and off, the idea that we must win and be successful. That’s what I want to see — the right attitude,’ Lampard said.
‘Goalkeepers have to be patient when they’re not starting and generally with Edou’s form, he’s been a very regular pick for me.
The £72million goalkeeper lost his starting place to Edouard Mendy after a series of mistakes
‘But this is a game for Kepa, who’s training brilliantly and acting brilliantly.
‘These periods will happen in big players’ careers. So I’ve got no qualms about putting him back in.’
Lampard says the 26-year-old has supported Mendy since his arrival and the manager insisted he is under no pressure to play the Spaniard — or recoup money by letting him leave.
Lampard said: ‘Mendy has made himself a permanent fixture at this point because the pressure to win games means I pick people in form.’
Lampard said that Kepa has been supportive of his team-mate since his arrival from Rennes