Kepa lifts lid on relationship with Mendy after impressive Chelsea performance

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Kepa Arrizabalaga has opened up on his relationship with Edouard Mendy after impressing in Chelsea's win over Tottenham.

The Spanish keeper was back in between the sticks for Sunday's Premier League clash after Mendy picked up an injury in last week's win over Zenit St Petersburg.

And Kepa grabbed his opportunity to impress Thomas Tuchel, saving from Son Heung-min and Harry Kane and racing off his line a number of times to keep Tottenham's attack at bay.

The 26-year-old lost his place as Chelsea's No1 to Mendy last season – but says the two have "a very good relationship".

And he pointed to Mendy's actions when Kepa was the club's Super Cup hero last month, after he was brought to replace the Senegal keeper just before the penalty shootout.

"Edou and I have a very good relationship," Kepa told Chelsea's official website. "We are training together every day and support each other whoever is playing.

"You could see in the Super Cup the relationship we have. He was one of the first players to congratulate me after the penalty shoot-out and of course we celebrated together.

"Hopefully he can return to training soon from his injury."

Chelsea beat their London rivals 3-0 to go top of the table, thanks to strikes from Thiago Silva, N’Golo Kante and Antonio Rudiger.

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Kante came on for Mason Mount at half-time, and Tuchel's tactical tweak reaped rewards with an energised Chelsea having too much for Nuno Espirito Santo's side.

Kepa said: "We did a much better job in the second half than in the first, but we did what we needed to win the game and we are all happy with the three points.

"The manager made changes at half-time and I think that shows how good our squad is. We have the ability to change a few things up, bring in new players and it still works for us.

"This is very important, for all players to be ready. We have a lot of games to play during the season, across many competitions so it is very important for our players to be ready for the team."

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Chelsea boss Tuchel was unable to confirm whether Mendy would be fit to return for Wednesday's Carabao Cup clash at home to Aston Villa.

“We tried everything throughout the week and yesterday [Saturday] in training but it was so-so,” Tuchel told the club’s website.

“It comes from the last-minute kick against Zenit in the Champions League so it’s very painful and he felt it.

“He was not 100 per cent comfortable to go for a full stretch or to land on it so we decided to go for 100 per cent, which was Kepa, and have Edou with us to be supportive and to have good energy.

“I’m so happy that Kepa played a crucial role to have a clean sheet because it’s what he deserved.”

  • Premier League
  • Chelsea FC
  • Tottenham Hotspur FC

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