'I remember': Kepa shares what Tuchel told him before starting him for Chelsea for the very first time

Kepa Arrizabalaga has detailed the advice he was given by Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel after he played for him for the first time. 

Edouard Mendy has been the first-choice Blues goalkeeper since Tuchel took charge in January 2021, but his understudy has had some opportunities to play.

Kepa, 26, has played in nine games across all competitions under Tuchel. This isn’t a dreadful record considering he’s the back-up goalkeeper at Stamford Bridge. 

The Spaniard has seen his reputation take a battering since coming to London for £71million from Athletic Bilbao back in 2018. His first year at Stamford Bridge was decent before high-profile errors plagued him.

It must be difficult to be a reserve goalkeeper given his price tag, but there has been some positivity under the current German manager. His penalty shootout heroics to win the UEFA Super Cup last month are memorable.

Kepa has explained the advice he received from Tuchel on 11 February when he played for the first time under him in Chelsea’s 1-0 FA Cup win over Barnsley. He’s spoken about the way pressure was lifted off him.

“Since then he (Tuchel) has always given me his confidence. In that game, I remember very well, before starting he told me not to try to do more things than he had to do because he knew in the situation he was in, that he was under the spotlight. I felt that all eyes were on me. He gave me that peace of mind, took me out of focus, took pressure off me,” Kepa said.

Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Kepa situation is example of Tuchel’s brilliant man-management skills

Kepa’s situation is an extremely difficult scenario for anyone to manage, but Tuchel is doing as good as anyone could with the way he’s included him in the group. 

It looks like there will be a major loss on his transfer fee, but it’s about trying to claw some of that deficit back.

Tuchel’s man-management ability is underrated.

Obviously, his impact in terms of tactics on the pitch have played a big part in the team’s form under him. 

But, he’s managed to get so many individuals back to their best and appears to have created a great harmony within the squad right now.

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A sports journalist who graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016 and is a Chelsea supporter. Loves anything football or cricket related when it comes to England.