- Potter delighted with Mendy’s mindset when he wasn’t playing
- Chelsea coach challenges goalkeeper to grab his chance now
- Senegalese set to start maiden match under ex-Brighton coach
WHAT HAPPENED? Mendy will start his first match under Potter on Wednesday when Chelsea host Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League and while he has lauded the goalkeeper for his professionalism and patience when he was not playing, the former Brighton and Hove Albion boss wants the Senegalese to take his opportunities.
WHAT DID POTTER SAY? “He’s been great, a top professional, very supportive. I’ve had some good chats with him,” Potter said in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
“He was injured when we first arrived so Kepa played, and Kepa did well. He’s honest and professional enough to know sometimes you have to be patient and work hard and support the team, which is what he did. We can’t ask any more.”
“He’s made sure he’s ready, he’s trained well, and he’s kept his standards high. Now he has an opportunity. It’s unfortunate for Kepa it’s come around like that, but that’s football.”
THE BIGGER PICTUTRE: Mendy played for the first time under Potter when he came on as a substitute for the injured Kepa in last Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Brighton in the Premier League, returning to the team for the first time since September 3 when he sustained a knee injury in Chelsea’s 2-1 win against West Ham.
The Senegal international recovered and returned to fitness two weeks later but found it difficult to dislodge Kepa, who has been impressive in goal for Chelsea since being handed the opportunity.
But with the Spanish shot-stopper now out after picking up a knock at the Amex Stadium, Mendy has a chance to reclaim the position if he can impress Potter with his performances, starting with Wednesday’s match at Stamford Bridge.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR MENDY? The 30-year-old is assured of his place in Chelsea’s starting XI on Wednesday and he will hope that his performances will keep him in goal for Sunday’s clash with Premier League leaders Arsenal. With the World Cup three weeks away, Mendy will also be keen to get match sharpness before joining the Teranga Lions for the tournament.