Kepa opens up on penalty shootout secret

Kepa Arrizabalaga helped Chelsea secure another penalty shoot-out win yesterday as the Blues defeated Southampton in the fourth round of Carabao Cup to book a place in the quarterfinals. Kepa has now made a total of four saves in the penalty shoot-outs against Villarreal, Aston Villa and Southampton.

Speaking to Chelsea’s official website after the win the goalkeeper revealed being confident and comfortable under pressure is key during penalty shoot-outs. The Spaniard added “I’ve always said I try to help the team in the best way, but I do feel really good at penalties. I feel confident. It’s a bit of luck, a bit of work, a bit of everything but I feel really good.”

“I think right now in professional football everybody has the information about the other team’s penalty takers so, like I said before, it’s a bit of everything. A bit of confidence, a bit of work, a bit of luck.”

“But I feel really good on penalties and last night even more so, because it was in front of our fans. Stamford Bridge was full, they were pushing us, so it was a good cup game. I’m really happy to help the team, to be in the next round and win on penalties for the third time this season. Hopefully we can win the next game in 90 minutes, but if we go to penalties I’m ready to go again.”

Despite being the second choice goalkeeper in Premier League and Champions League for Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel, Kepa revealed he has the full backing of his coach. He added “Of course I want to play more regularly. My last game was also a cup game, more or less a month ago, so it’s not easy to sometimes step in and feel the same as you would if you play every week, but I try to be ready, train hard, be involved in the team.”

Also, I feel the confidence of the manager. This is really important. I’ve felt his support from the beginning and I think when I step in I’m ready to help the team. I’m happy to do that.”

The goalkeeper insisted he would have to make most of the chances he gets to play in order to improve and be ready for the next opportunity. He added “It’s really important to take these chances. First of all, I want to keep playing and if we lose in the cup and we’re out, I have one game less, no? So I start with this mindset.”

But I really want to enjoy being on the pitch with that pressure. I want to enjoy it because when you’re on the bench it’s not the same, of course. So I try to enjoy it with the team and finish the game with good feelings like yesterday.

With Edouard Mendy potentially missing a month’s activity at Chelsea due to Senegal’s participation in Africa Cup of Nations, Kepa could be handed an extended run as the first choice goalkeeper. “It’s two months away. Of course we know it can happen and I will be ready, but we have a lot of games until we start thinking about that. Let’s go step by step and we’ll see what happens.”

If he goes to the Africa Cup of Nations, all the best and I’ll be ready, but it’s still a long way to arrive at that point.”

Source: Chelsea FC

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