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The Blues boss has promised to continue to select his team based on form, with a £ 22 million summer contract now firmly established as his number 1.
Frank Lampard says he is not under “pressure” to play Kepa, and has admitted that Edouard Mendy is now a “permanent fixture” at the net after his brilliant start at Chelsea.
Chelsea spent a record £ 71 million ($ 95 million) fee to sign Kepa from Athletic Club in the summer of 2018, having seen former number one Thibaut Courtois complete his own move to Real Madrid. .
Since then, the Spanish goalkeeper has struggled to live up to his high price, and saw his position threatened for the first time with Frank Lampard last season due to his erratic form between the posts.
The Blues manager eliminated Kepa by veteran closer Willy Caballero on several occasions before the club decided to bring in a new goalkeeper in the summer transfer window.
Edouard Mendy was drafted from Rennes for £ 22 million ($ 29 million) in September, and the Senegalese star quickly clinched the first-choice goalie spot at Stamford Bridge.
Mendy has started Chelsea’s last six Premier League games, while Kepa has had to settle for a Champions League appearance after losing his job.
Lampard has rejected any suggestion that the 26-year-old eventually return to his lineup because of how much the club invested in his talent two years ago, insisting that he chooses his team based on form rather than status.
He also revealed that Kepa will return to his starting eleven for the final outing of the Blues Champions League group stage against Krasnodar on Tuesday, saying at a press conference: “There is no pressure.” [to pick Kepa], and I’m not saying that they are talking about that, it’s about winning games.
“I do that through play-by-game picks and Mendy of course has become a permanent fixture right now.
“The pressure to win games means that I choose the fit people, be it forward, winger or goalkeeper, whoever they are. At the same time, tomorrow’s game is an opportunity to give Edou a break and give Kepa a game. .
“He’s training well and he deserves it.”
When asked how Kepa has reacted to the extra competition for places on the Bridge after Mendy’s arrival, Lampard replied: “How he has been with Edou is a great support to him. I see him and I see him from afar sometimes, since they work together with Hilario. [goalkeeper coach] much.
“What I do see when I look from afar and we are in hotel rooms a lot right now is that he is someone who is quietly supporting him, which is correct.
“He is also training well, which is the main thing I look at because training especially for goalkeepers, due to the nature of one-on-one training, there cannot be one who lowers his level.”
“Everyone has to push each other and I see him in the group and I’m very happy with that from Kepa. His reaction was spot on.”