EPL

Tuchel promises Kepa a 'new start' at Chelsea

By Sports Desk February 10, 2021

Thomas Tuchel has told Kepa Arrizabalaga to not put too much pressure on himself as he bids to take advantage of a "new start" under the German. 

Kepa became the world's most expensive goalkeeper when he joined Chelsea from LaLiga outfit Athletic Bilbao for a reported £71.6million (€80m) two years ago.

However, the 26-year-old's unreliable form in the past year saw his place come under threat and he has now been usurped as Chelsea's number one goalkeeper by Edouard Mendy, who was signed from Rennes in September. 

Kepa has started both of Chelsea's FA Cup games this season and Tuchel confirmed he will once again be between the sticks for the Blues' fifth-round clash at Barnsley on Thursday. 

Tuchel, who has overseen three wins in four Premier League games since replacing Frank Lampard in January, has challenged Kepa to forget his struggles so far in England and wants him to start afresh under his tutelage. 

"We had a view on his situation and some difficulties on the sporting side," Tuchel said. 

"Maybe, also, the circumstances of his transfer are a little bit on his shoulders. The good thing for him is that this is a new start for him because I don't have a history with him.

"It is a special position. If you do make mistakes, everybody sees it and talks about it so you need a lot of mental strength and quality. I see this in all of the three goalkeepers. I absolutely believe [Kepa can turn it around].

"This is an opportunity [against Barnsley] and hopefully he does not want to overachieve. 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."

Chelsea are aiming to claim their first FA Cup win against Barnsley, having lost to the Yorkshire outfit in their two previous meetings in the competition in 1989 and 2008.

Related items

  • Portugal v Uruguay: Santos' side go in search of World Cup revenge Portugal v Uruguay: Santos' side go in search of World Cup revenge

    Portugal will be on a revenge mission when they attempt to make it two World Cup wins out of two against Uruguay on Monday.

    La Celeste dumped Portugal out of the World Cup with a 2-1 victory at the round of 16 stage in Sochi four years ago.

    Edinson Cavani's double ended Portugal's quest to be crowned champions in 2018, with Uruguay then losing 2-0 in a quarter-final against France.

    Fernando Santos' side took their first step towards the knockout stage in Qatar by beating Ghana 3-2 on Thursday after Uruguay had been held to a goalless draw by South Korea.

    Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot to become the first man to find the back of the net in five World Cups.

    It was by no means all plain sailing for Portugal, though, and goalkeeper Diogo Costa almost gifted Ghana a last-gasp equaliser when he rolled the ball out and was robbed by Inaki Williams, but breathed a huge sigh of relief when the forward slipped.

    Forward Goncalo Ramos knows Portugal face a big test when they face Diego Alonso's men in their second Group H match at Lusail Stadium 

    He told reporters on Saturday: "They are very strong and dangerous. [Diego] Godín is a great player, but picking out individuals in a team with so much quality, it's not worth it."

    Ramos added: "I think a team with our quality has to be favourites in any game. A draw? We don't look at any game thinking about a draw."

    Uruguay could become the first team to keep six consecutive World Cup group stage clean sheets in Al Daayen.

    Portugal have lost just one of their past 13 group stage games at the World Cup, that loss coming at the hands of Germany in 2014

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Portugal - Bruno Fernandes

    While it was Ronaldo who took the headlines yet again following the win over Ghana, Bruno Fernandes played a huge part and he can help Portugal dictate the tempo against Uruguay.

    The midfielder provided the passes for Joao Felix to put Portugal in front for a second time, and for Rafael Leao to make it 3-1.

    Fernandes created more chances than any of his team-mates and became only the second Portugal player to provide two assists in a World Cup match after Jose Torres against Brazil back in 1966.

    Uruguay - Federico Valverde

    While Uruguay were toothless in a drab draw with South Korea, Federico Valverde did his best to get them going.

    The Real Madrid midfielder struck the woodwork late on and showed the quality that has made him an important player for the European champions.

    Valverde is capable of causing Portugal problems in such a big game for La Celeste as they eye a spot in the round of 16.

    PREDICTION

    Portugal are well fancied to be sitting pretty on six points with one group match to play.

    Stats Perform's AI model has Santos' men down as having a 50.5 per cent chance of making it two victories from as many matches.

    Uruguay's chances of claiming a first win of the tournament are rated at 23.4 per cent, while a draw is 26.1 per cent.

  • Rashford keen for Euro 2020 penalty redemption at World Cup Rashford keen for Euro 2020 penalty redemption at World Cup

    Marcus Rashford is hoping he gets a chance to redeem himself from a missed penalty in England's European Championship final defeat to Italy during the World Cup.

    The Manchester United forward was among three members of Gareth Southgate's side to fail to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma from the spot in the shootout, alongside Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.

    The trio were then subject to racial abuse on social media, but that has not put him off stepping up for the Three Lions if required in Qatar.

    "Racism is not good to go through as an individual but it's not good to see anyone go through it. [It's] more just disappointment. You're disappointed that people have views like that," he said.

    "And the main reason is that you don't have those views about anyone else, regardless of their race or religion. It's more the disappointment that people are thinking those things, rather than saying them.

    "I've missed a penalty before. You never want to miss a penalty, it's a great opportunity for forwards especially to score goals, and obviously they're big moment.

    "As an individual I've always been comfortable with and enjoy big moments so I'm hoping I get to take another penalty in the tournament. I'm looking forward to it."

    England were booed off following a goalless draw against the United States last time out, but stand on the brink of qualification for the knockout stages – with only a four-goal defeat to Wales in the final match enough to send them home.

    Rashford is confident England will do what is required and will "leave it all out on the pitch" against Wales.

    "It is not often I come away with England and feel like we're going to lose games. I think as a collective, we're very strong," he added.

    "The togetherness is really high and it is a big feature that Gareth puts emphasis on.

    "It is something we have worked on and it has improved as time has gone on. But like I said, the main reason why we are in the position we're in is because we have good players who are willing to work for one another and leave it all out on the pitch.

    "In the next game, we'll definitely look to do that."

  • Rashford grateful for 'unbelievable' opportunity to play alongside Ronaldo Rashford grateful for 'unbelievable' opportunity to play alongside Ronaldo

    Marcus Rashford will "forever" cherish his days of playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United.

    Ronaldo's Old Trafford departure was confirmed on Tuesday as United revealed the two parties came to a "mutual agreement" regarding his immediate exit.

    That came after the 37-year-old held an explosive interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, during which he openly criticised the club, its board and manager Erik ten Hag.

    United said they "initiated appropriate steps" in the wake of the interview's full release, ultimately resulting in his second spell at the club coming to an end.

    Ronaldo had struggled for form this season and found himself behind Rashford and Anthony Martial in the pecking order when they were all fit.

    Despite the acrimonious conclusion to Ronaldo's time at the club, Rashford only looked back on their time together with a positive outlook.

    "Listen, it's been an unbelievable experience to play with him," Rashford said.

    "He's obviously one of my idols and someone I've always looked up to, so to have the opportunity to play with him is unbelievable.

    "I'll take that with me and it's something that I can keep with me forever.

    "So, I wish him all the best. We obviously want to thank him for the things that he's done for Manchester United and wish him all the best in the rest of his career."

    Ronaldo is yet to sign with another club, but according to reports there are no restrictions on where he can move.

    Chelsea and Newcastle United have been mentioned as potential destinations for the Portugal great, while Flamengo and Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr are also rumoured to be keen.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.