By 90Min
December 18, 2018

Former Crystal Palace goalkeeper Steve Mandanda is a shadow of his former self, according to Chelsea's goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon.

The 33-year-old joined the Eagles in 2016 after a lengthy spell with Ligue 1 side Marseille, but struggled to make an impression in south London after failing to dislodge Wayne Hennessey as the club's first choice goalkeeper.

He left Palace a year later to return to Marseille, but has struggled to recapture the form which once saw him regarded as one of the best keepers in the French game. Now, Lollichon, and former Marseille manager Elie Baup have revealed their belief that his poor recent form is down entirely to his time with the Eagles

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Speaking to France Football, Baup explained: “It hurt him. An all but blank season at his age and with the status he had, it was hard for him to swallow.”

Lollichon added: “His time in England hurt him. Scarred him. He now needs to verbalise this pain to exorcise it.”

Despite starting the first few games during his spell over in England, an injury to Mandanda scuppered his first half of the season. By the time he was fit enough to return to the side, Sam Allardyce had taken charge - with the former England boss favouring Hennessey after his arrival.

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As the season progressed and the keeper continued to be unused, a return to Marseille was organised to best suit all parties - with Mandanda arriving back home just a year and ten days after leaving.

It is not unheard of for a Ligue 1 player to join a Premier League side, only to then struggle in England's top flight. Current Marseille talisman Florian Thauvin experienced a similar thing when he struggled to make an impression at Newcastle, lasting just one season at St James' Park.

But unlike the winger, Mandanda’s recent performances have not been anything close to what he used to produce for Les Olympiens. As a result, manager Rudi Garcia has taken the captain's armband away from him, handing it to Dimitri Payet instead.

It seems, at least in the eyes of both Baup and Lollichon, that his spell in England is to blame for his loss of confidence - though Mandanda will hope to turn things around and help his side push towards a European qualification spot once more.

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