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Thomas Tuchel explains why Chelsea flop struggled under Frank Lampard

Thomas Tuchel set new records as Chelsea win at Tottenham
Thomas Tuchel set new records as Chelsea win at Tottenham

Thomas Tuchel will hand Chelsea’s record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga a rare starting opportunity in tonight’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Barnsley.

The Spain international arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2018 as replacement for Real Madrid-bound Thibaut Courtois.

Kepa cost the west London club a world record £72million but he has come nowhere close to justifying that fee.

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After an error-strewn start to the season, technical director Petr Cech stepped in and played an active role in the recruitment of Edouard Mendy from his former club Rennes and the Senegal international has since established himself as Chelsea’s undisputed No.1.

Kepa’s last appearance for Chelsea came in last month’s victory over Luton where he made another alarming error in what ultimately turned out to be Lampard’s last match at the helm.

Thomas Tuchel explains why Chelsea flop struggled under Frank Lampard

Thomas Tuchel explains why Chelsea flop struggled under Frank Lampard

Mendy has started all four of Tuchel’s matches in charge so far and conceded just once, but the 28-year-old will earn a rest this evening with the German tactician handing Kepa an olive branch.

The former PSG and Borussia Dortmund manager is adamant that Kepa will be handed an opportunity to resurrect his Chelsea career and believes the astronomical fee the club paid for him has weighed heavy on the goalkeeper’s shoulders and affected his performances.

He said: ‘He will play [against Barnsley]. From outside, of course we had a view on his situation and some difficulties on the sporting side. Maybe, also, the circumstances of his transfer are a little bit on his shoulders.

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That was the impression from far away, from outside. ‘The good thing for him is that we start new, that this is a new start for him because I don’t have a history with him and I hope there will be no difficulties and I don’t see them coming.

Asked if he believes Kepa can turnaround his situation at Chelsea, Tuchel replied: ‘Absolutely. Today, I absolutely believe this. ‘It is our job to push the guy to the limit. And we are pretty selfish because we want to have them in the best shape on the pitch.

Of course, the club want the market value to stay or increase but for me it is pretty selfish, we want the guy in the best shape and we want the best competition in any position.

‘From inside, I see a nice guy, a nice personality, an open personality. A hard working guy with, obviously, a lot of quality. He deserves to be here. He’s a sports guy who loves competition, he does everything to impress in training.

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‘I want him to play a normal match. He does not have to show me or anybody else that he is ready to be Spain’s number one in the summer. He has just to show his quality. Not more and not less. It is normal that he has higher goals to achieve in his personal ambition, that’s why he is here.’

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