Thomas Tuchel hopes to ‘help build’ Kepa Arrizabalaga’s confidence with shock start against Newcastle as Gary Neville says he will be ‘surprised’ if the Spanish goalkeeper ‘turns his fortunes around’ at Chelsea
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says he chose Kepa Arrizabalaga for their game against Newcastle to help him ‘build up some rhythm and confidence.’
The German made the surprising decision to drop summer signing Edouard Mendy and bring the Spaniard back into the fold, for their Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.
Kepa’s future at Chelsea looked over after the arrival of Mendy, making just three appearances this season.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has a big chance to prove himself under his new manager Thomas Tuchel
The new Chelsea boss has brought Kepa back into the fold for their game against Newcastle
But Tuchel who has already made some big decisions since replacing club legend Frank Lampard at the helm, has made another by bringing the Spaniard backing into the starting line-up.
Ahead of the game he said: ‘We need a strong Kepa in our squad, he had a good game in the cup and we decided to let him build up some rhythm and confidence.
‘And at the same time, we wanted to give Edou some time to mentally recover. So with one decision, they both have advantages.’
Chelsea signed Kepa from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 for £72m, a price tag that made him the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.
However he has failed to hit the lofty heights of his valuation, making numerous mistakes during his time at Chelsea.
The Blues brought in Mendy from Rennes for £22m during the summer transfer window after previously dropping Kepa for Willy Caballero for a number of games last season.
Edouard Mendy who was signed to replace Kepa, drops to the bench for the Newcastle game
Gary Neville who is doing punditry for Chelsea’s game, said he was surprised at the decision.
He said on Sky Sports: ‘I think it is big. I thought we saw the last of him. But managers when they come in, they believe they can improve players, particularly good managers.
‘He thinks he can get a tune in Kepa. But he looked well short of what a top goalie needs to be and we thought his time was over.
‘I will be surprised if we see Kepa turnaround his fortunes at the club, because he doesn’t look like what a goalie should be.’
Gary Neville says he was surprised to see Tuchel make the decision to bring Kepa back