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Chelsea: Thomas Tuchel says he can't get sentimental when picking Edouard Mendy or Kepa Arrizabalaga

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Thomas Tuchel says he ‘cannot get sentimental’ when picking Edouard Mendy or Kepa Arrizabalaga in Carabao Cup final as he admits the Spaniard ‘absolutely deserves’ starting role against Liverpool

  • Sentiment will not lead Thomas Tuchel to pick Kepa for the Carabao Cup final 
  • Kepa performed superbly for the Blues while Eduoard Mendy was away
  • But the coach said he will decide what’s best for the team against Liverpool 
  • Tuchel also showed support for embattled Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku 
  • He said the focus on the Belgian striker due to his £99m price tag is unfair


Thomas Tuchel has warned there will be no room for sentiment when it comes to selecting Chelsea’s goalkeeper for the Carabao Cup final.

Kepa Arrizabalaga has played in all previous rounds of the competition, making key saves in the penalty shootout victories against Aston Villa and Southampton and producing an outstanding display at Brentford in the quarter-finals.

However, Edouard Mendy stepped in to start the Club World Cup final against Palmeiras despite Kepa’s strong performance in the semi-final against Al-Hilal and Tuchel claims he will make a late decision on who starts against Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday.

Thomas Tuchel (L) won't start Kepa Arrizabalaga (R) in the Carabao Cup final due to sentiment

Thomas Tuchel (L) won’t start Kepa Arrizabalaga (R) in the Carabao Cup final due to sentiment

Kepa performed impressively in Edouard Mendy's absence in January and February

Kepa performed impressively in Edouard Mendy’s absence in January and February

‘He absolutely deserves the chance and I cannot get sentimental about the position,’ replied the Chelsea boss, when asked about Kepa. 

‘In the end, I have to do what is, in my opinion, the very best solution for the team.

‘I know this is a very sensitive position. If Kepa was on the field among the other 10 players, we would not have these discussions, we would just be full of praise and he would feel it in minutes. He is in this one position where there are not a lot of changes.

‘Kepa did fantastic in the period when we had to be without Edou so it’s both an uncomfortable and very comfortable situation. The decision we will take after training like always. There’s no need to take a decision now.’

Kepa became the centre of attention in the 2019 Carabao Cup final for refusing to be subbed

Kepa became the centre of attention in the 2019 Carabao Cup final for refusing to be subbed

Eduoard Mendy started the Club World Cup final over Kepa after returning from Senegal duty

Eduoard Mendy started the Club World Cup final over Kepa after returning from Senegal duty

Last season, Tuchel kept faith in Kepa in the FA Cup final. Chelsea lost 1-0 against Leicester.

Another of his big Wembley selection issues surrounds £97.5million record signing Romelu Lukaku, who was left on the bench for the Champions League tie against Lille on Tuesday, following his last Premier League appearance, when he only had seven touches in 90 minutes during Chelsea’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.

‘He is an important player,’ said Tuchel. ‘If you pay a lot of money these days for one single player there’s a lot of focus on the player but if you allow yourself to zoom a little bit out he played a lot of consecutive matches from the start for us.

‘We have maybe a little bit the same situation with Jorginho who is one of our captains and maybe did not play so much from the beginning lately because we feel him a bit tired. But the focus is hugely on Romelu.

‘The situations are more or less the same and sometimes, that’s unfair and a bit too much, because both of them understand they are team players. The things inside are very clear. The decisions are made clear and the players accept them. Once you play for Chelsea you accept the team goes first and that’s why there’s no hard feelings from Romelu, from me or anybody else. There were a lot of players who wanted to be on the pitch in the last matches and have not played because only 11 can start and that will never change.’

Chelsea coach Tuchel also showed support for embattled striker Romelu Lukaku

Chelsea coach Tuchel also showed support for embattled striker Romelu Lukaku

He dismissed speculation in Italy linking Lukaku with a return to Inter.

‘I trust my players and their focus,’ said Tuchel. ‘On the other hand, what choice is there? There’s no transfer period right now. Everybody is hugely involved in the goals they want to achieve together and the truth is we can only achieve them together, we can only achieve them with a strong Romelu, a strong Jorgi, a strong everybody.

‘If everybody plays their role to the very top level we can be a top team and fulfil our dreams. There is no need to be distracted and carried away. It’s very calm at the moment. We have quality back in the group, injured players back in the group.’

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