Thomas Tuchel defends Kepa Arrizabalaga despite Liverpool loss

Thomas Tuchel came to the aid of Kepa Arrizabalaga after Chelsea’s Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool, insisting that the only one to be blamed is him.

Speaking after Chelsea’s defeat in the Carabao Cup final to Liverpool, as quoted by Daily Mail, Thomas Tuchel sprung to the defence of Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Chelsea manager asserted that the Spanish goalkeeper should not be blamed for the Blues’ loss in the cup fixture.

Chelsea played a stunning contest against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday. The match was a brilliant end-to-end affair that somehow ended in a goalless draw after extra time. The Blues had Edouard Mendy to thank for making some excellent saves to keep the Liverpool attackers at bay.

But Mendy’s outing was done before the penalty shoot-out, with Thomas Tuchel introducing Kepa Arrizabalaga in place of the Senegalese goalkeeper. The move backfired, as Kepa failed to save the penalties by the Liverpool players, even during sudden death, where all the outfield players scored their spot-kicks.

In the end, it came down to the two goalkeepers, wherein Caoimhin Kelleher emphatically netted his penalty. But Kepa missed his, thereby handing Chelsea the defeat and Liverpool the Carabao Cup. Following the game, Tuchel was quick to remark why Kepa should not be blamed for the loss.

The Chelsea boss said, “Do you think we do this and don’t talk to the players? The players know the plan and we have done it before. If you want to blame somebody, blame me; this is not a problem. I take the decisions and I don’t take them to try to be the hero. Today it took 11 penalties to find the winner. And if you want to blame anyone blame me, there’s no problem.”

“It is so bad for him of course, but no blame of course. We took the decision like we did last time in a penalty shoot-out, because Kepa is training with the players on a daily basis. They know how good he is and he simply has more time to do this than Edou (Mendy) on the training ground. This plays a huge part in how good we shot today.”

“Unfortunately he could not save any, the pens were brilliantly taken. It was a bit harsh on him today to be the guy to miss the one and only penalty today but there’s no blame. I take the decisions when I take the decisions and I only take them when I want to take them. I cannot re-judge my decisions after the outcome. We cannot know what would have happened if we had left Edou on the pitch.”

Tuchel is correct in saying that Kepa was unfortunate to be in the position he was eventually put into, and it is worth remembering that the Spaniard has been instrumental in clinching two shoot-out wins in the ongoing campaign. Kepa must recover from Sunday’s agony for the tests that await in the rest of the season, putting Chelsea’s Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool behind him.

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