Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has said he takes the blame for having benched Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for Kepa Arrizabalaga in Sunday’s EFL Cup final loss to Liverpool.
“I only take the decisions when I want to take them. I cannot re-judge my decisions when I know what is the outcome. We don’t know what would have happened if we had left Edou on the pitch. This is how it is, so no blame on him,” he told Chelsea website.
Kepa replaced Mendy with a minute to the end of extra-time ready for post-match penalties, which saw the Spanish goalkeeper sky his decisive penalty kick and hand Liverpool the cup 11-10.
Both teams had shared the spoils at 0-0 in 90 minutes paving the way for extra time then the penalties which saw Liverpool second choice keeper Caoimhin Kelleher convert only for his opposite number to miss.
Tuchel said he made the decisions and he does not know what could have happened if he had maintained Mendy.
“It is bad for him [Kepa], of course, but there is no blame. 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, he simply has more time on the training ground to do these things than Edou who plays a lot more,” the German told Chelsea website.
“So everybody knows how good he is, how difficult it is to shoot against him so that played a huge part in how well we shot today. Unfortunately, he could not make a save. The penalties were brilliantly taken and it was a bit harsh on him today that he was the one to miss the one and only penalty, but there is no blame.”
Chelsea were seeking to add to their collection of European Super Cup, Fifa Club World Cup and Uefa Champions League silverware which they won with Mendy between the sticks, but it was not to be.
Mendy also saved a decisive post-match penalty that helped Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations trophy for the first time last month in Cameroon.
Instead, the night belonged to Jurgen Klopp to make it five trophies under his reign.