Frank Lampard has refused to call time on Kepa Arrizabalaga’s Chelsea career and insists much of the scrutiny and criticism surrounding the goalkeeper has been ‘unfair’.
Kepa has failed to live up to expectations following his world-record £71million move fro Athletic Bilbao back in 2018 and a series of high-profile mistakes saw him lose his place to veteran Willy Caballero towards the end of last season.
The 25-year-old did himself no favours with another shaky performance in Chelsea’s 2-0 to Liverpool – in which he was partly at fault for both of Sadio Mane’s goals – and the arrival of Edouard Mendy from Rennes appeared to spell the end for the Spaniard.
However, at his press conference on Monday, Chelsea head coach Lampard jumped to Kepa’s defence and refused to close the door on the error-prone shot-stopper.
Asked whether Kepa had played his last match for the club, he responded: ‘No, I won’t go to that point.
‘It’s been a hard time for him.
‘Kepa is a young man and a lot of the spotlight has been unfair.’
Lampard confirmed that both Mendy and Ben Chilwell are fit to face Tottenham but the Carabao Cup fourth-round tie comes a little too soon for Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic.
‘Mendy and Chilwell are in the squad for tomorrow,’ he said.
‘Ziyech and Pulisic are not far away, but it’s too early for them both.’
The Chelsea manager has been impressed with Mendy since the Senegal international joined from Rennes and backed his £22m signing to provide strong competition for Kepa and Caballero.
‘It’s all very positive. He has settled in very well,’ he added.
‘It’s competition. He’s a good goalkeeper.’
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