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Chelsea decision to bench Senegal’s Mendy in Liverpool penalty shootout was a ‘rubbish idea’ – Redknappp

08:11 IST 28/02/2022
Tuchel Mendy Kepa Chelsea Liverpool Carabao Cup final 27 02 2022
The former England midfielder believes it was not the right decision for the Blues to substitute the Lion of Teranga in the Cup final

Liverpool legend Jamie Redknapp has termed as a “rubbish idea’ the decision by Chelsea to withdraw goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for Kepa Arrizabalaga in their Carabao Cup final shoot-out defeat at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

The 29-year-old started in the game ahead of the Spanish custodian but with the final heading to a penalty shootout with the score at 0-0, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel opted to bring on Kepa in the 119th minute.

However, the decision backfired as Liverpool scored every one of their 11 penalties and when Kepa had to take a spot kick for Chelsea's 11th penalty, he blasted his penalty over the bar after an extraordinary 22-kick shootout.

The decision by Tuchel has left many baffled including the 48-year-old Redknapp, who feels it was unnecessary to substitute Mendy, whom he described as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

“I don't like it, it is a rubbish idea,” Redknapp said as quoted by Sky Sports. “I think it is a case of being too clever for your own good. It just complicated it.

“How could anyone say they wouldn't have won it if Mendy was in goal? It’s rubbish, it’s nonsense - he didn’t even get near to a penalty. Mendy’s one of the world’s best goalkeepers, and then you bring on Kepa instead, ridiculous.”

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville said he did not understand the reason behind subbing Mendy.

“I don’t like it [subbing goalkeepers on for shootouts]. It’s not the time to analyse that, it could've paid off. They obviously know Kepa's got an excellent penalty-saving record, but I still don't understand it,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“Mendy’s been outstanding and made saves all the way through the game, he's got the atmosphere, the feeling, he's warmed up.”

Meanwhile, another Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher defended the decision by Tuchel to take off Mendy.

“There is method in it,” said Carragher. “We shouldn’t forget that this was the decision Thomas Tuchel made in the Super Cup when Kepa came on and Chelsea won.”

Chelsea’s Tuchel has taken the blame for the decision and explained why he took the gamble.

“It is bad for him, 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,” Tuchel told Chelsea official website.

“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. 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.”

Tuchel continued: “I only take the decisions when I want to take them. I cannot rejudge me 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.

“Of course blame on me, I am the guy who makes the decisions. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not work out, but this is life as a football coach.

“Sometimes you bring on a player and he scores, sometimes you bring on a player and he makes a decisive mistake. This is what happens so no regrets and if someone has to take the blame it absolutely falls on me and I take the responsibility of course.”