Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has insisted that his relationship with Frank Lampard is still strong despite being dropped earlier this season.
The Spaniard had established himself as the number one choice between the posts for the Blues prior to Lampard’s arrival last summer, and he remained in the starting XI until January.
However, he was then benched for four consecutive Premier League games as well as in the Champions League, with Willy Caballero getting the nod from Lampard instead.
To his credit, Kepa responded well to his dip in form and the decision from Lampard as he produced impressive back-to-back performances against Liverpool and Everton prior to the coronavirus pandemic postponing the season, and he’ll hope that he’ll continue to be selected ahead of Caballero when the campaign resumes.
Despite the potential for issues with his boss after being dropped though, Kepa has insisted that his relationship with Lampard is still good and respects that his manager has to make decisions which are in the best interests of the team.
“The relationship with Frank is very good,” Kepa told Marca, as translated by the Metro. “He has shown me confidence from the first moment. He must make decisions, but I feel I have his confidence, both his and that of the whole club. We all like to play in every game.
“We play 50 or 60 games a year and it is difficult to stay on the same level.
“The important thing is to be very clear about the objective, to work and put everything into improving. There may be obstacles along the way, but when you have a clear objective, it is easier. The only thing that can be done, in these cases, is to take it professionally, respectfully and work harder to turn it around.”
After back-to-back clean sheets in two consecutive wins on his return to the line-up, Kepa will have felt as though he was back in top form after his break from the XI.
However, the next challenge for him will be to prove that he can pick up from where he left off if the season gets the green light to continue, as Chelsea will continue to try and fend off the competition and secure a top-four finish in the Premier League to ensure that they return to the Champions League next year.
Kepa will be a crucial figure in that push, and it sounds as though there is no negativity or lingering frustration from his side over Lampard’s decisions so far this season.