Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is “very happy” with Edouard Mendy’s performances so far this season but insists the No 1 spot will be “up for grabs” all season. Mendy displaced Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal against Sevilla and kept a second clean sheet in three Blues appearances.
The Senegalese shot-stopper made some solid close-range stops in the goalless Champions League group stage draw with Sevilla.
He was rushed back into the team from a thigh injury after recovering quickly from the knock he suffered while on international duty.
Signed for an initial £22million from Rennes, another of Chelsea’s Group E opponents, Mendy was brought in to take the gloves from Arrizabalaga.
The Spaniard has endured an error-strewn couple of years at Stamford Bridge with his latest mistake coming in the weekend’s 3-3 draw with Southampton as Chelsea twice threw away a two-goal advantage.
A £72m signing under Maurizio Sarri, former Athletic Bilbao keeper Arrizabalaga has desperately struggled for consistent form in the Premier League.
But while Lampard has been impressed by what he’s seen from summer signing Mendy so far, he has warned that Arrizabalaga is not completely out of contention.
“I think the way he has played in the three games since being here, he has played very well,” the Chelsea manager said.
“Made a good save today, two clean sheets. So at the minute, yes. I said when he came in it was good for competition.
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“We knew his qualities and he is showing them already. So as it stands, yes it is.
“But that always remains something that is up for grabs, so that is why you have competition at clubs. The way he is playing, I am very happy.”
Mendy will expectedly keep his spot in goal for Saturday’s trip to Manchester United, who clinched a superb 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.
And another likely to stay in the starting eleven for the Old Trafford clash is centre-back Thiago Silva.
The former PSG defender helped marshal Chelsea’s back-line against Europa League holders Sevilla after missing the weekend’s draw with Southampton.
Lampard added after the Sevilla stalemate: “I thought he was very good today.
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“I spoke about quality and experience before the game and he brought both of those and it affects others around him, which I think he did.
“He was a big plus in terms of getting the clean sheet. Over the season, I will manage him and I have a very close relationship with him already even if he uses a translator.
“I will always work closely with him and I remember being in the same position myself towards the end of my career, in the last year in the Premier League.
“So I will be very aware of maintenance training and his selection as we want him to play as many games as we can to be at his optimum level.”
Chelsea head to United looking for a repeat of their FA Cup semi-final performance in July as they downed the Red Devils 3-1.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men had won the previous three meetings, including a 4-0 Old Trafford win in August last year. They also won in the league and in the Carabao Cup at Stamford Bridge.
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