Thomas Tuchel has said he selected Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal against Newcastle as he wanted to allow the goalkeeper to find some rhythm, but confirmed following the match that Edouard Mendy was his number one.
The Spaniard was reportedly one of the reasons why Frank Lamopard was sacked, with the former Blues boss not convinced by Kepa and so elected to sign Mendy last year.
Mendy has conceded only once in four games since Tuchel took charge, an own goal following an error from Antonio Rudiger, but he was left out against Newcastle – with Kepa retaining his place after keeping a clean sheet in the FA Cup win over Barnsley on Thursday.
What was said?
“We need a strong Kepa in our squad,” Tuchel told Sky Sports. “He had a good game in the cup so we decided to give him another match to build up a little bit of rhythm, confidence and to trust him because he did very well.
“At the same time, we can give Edou the chance to mentally recover because it is a demanding position mentally and concentration-wise so with one decision we have both advantages.”
Following the 2-0 win, Tuchel confirmed that he wanted to give Kepa a run in the team but that Mendy was ahead of him in the pecking order.
“Edou is the number one, this is clear,” Tuchel told Sky Sports. “It was clear before the game and it stays like this.
“I am happy Kepa continued with a second clean sheet. It was the moment to let him feel the rhythm and build up his confidence.
“It was clear before that we hoped for the best performance, but Edou will be in goal from now on as he recovered physically and mentally and right now, he is the number one.”
The German took charge on January 26 and has been assessing his squad for the past few weeks.
He has made a raft of changes to personnel and formations and it is likely to continue for some time until he settles on his preferred XI.