Edouard Mendy is set to start in goal for Chelsea against Liverpool in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, Thomas Tuchel has hinted.
Mendy has played the quarter-final and semi-final as they progressed past Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace to reach the final. Kepa started against Plymouth and Luton Town, with third choice goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli in the sticks for the third round tie against Chesterfield back in January.
Tuchel decided to start Mendy for the Carabao Cup final back in January despite Kepa being the number one for the cup team, but brought the Spain international on for penalties, a decision that backfired as he missed the final, and decisive, spot kick to hand Liverpool cup glory at Wembley.
But it appears Mendy will begin Saturday's final with Kepa backup should they require him for penalties, and if it feels right for Tuchel to bring him on.
What Thomas Tuchel said
“Kepa shoots (practices) for six weeks!" laughed Tuchel on Friday in his pre-match press conference regarding practising penalties and Kepa starting.
"I will not tell you. I have an opinion about it but I will not tell you. When it comes to it, you will see. Even if we decide like in the Carabao Cup before, if we have the chance we will do it.
"In approaching the match we always say let’s wait for the match and let’s see how the game goes, let’s see if we still have a change available. Let’s see how the match goes for Edou. It is never done before and it will not be done now. We have a plan for what we can do."
“Practising, I’m a bit torn in between if you can practise it and how much to practise it. My players shoot a lot of penalties during a season, I have to say - on an almost daily basis. Not too much. Not that a week before a final everybody is suddenly starting to shoot ten penalties a day. It is more or less one or two per day through the season. In my opinion it is good to have a certain routine for the players. To shoot tomorrow after 120 minutes of intense fight in a full stadium and pressure is on, it’s a different story. You cannot train. There are some techniques and routines you can dig into. This is what we do but over a long period of time.”