• Lampard sticks up for under-fire Arrizabalaga

    Kepa Arrizbalaga of Chelsea

    Frank Lampard has leapt to Kepa Arrizabalaga’s defence after the Spanish goalkeeper’s error led to Chelsea’s 1-0 loss at Newcastle.

    Kepa managed to lay a glove on Isaac Hayden’s injury-time header at St James’ Park on Saturday, but could not palm the effort around the post.

    Newcastle condemned Chelsea to an eighth Premier League loss of the season, but despite that defeat Blues boss Lampard is still backing his number one.

    “I will always defend all the players and if there are individual errors then players are the first ones to put their hands up and goalkeepers should be as well,” said Lampard.

    “It is an isolated and difficult job because the spotlight is on you individually. At times he has made good saves for us this season and at times he’ll say he wants to do better.

    “He is still relatively young as a goalkeeper, he wants to improve, as he should do. He can improve as much as all the team and we can improve.”

    Kepa joined Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao in August 2018 in a £72million deal that set a new record fee for a goalkeeper.

    The 25-year-old has shown plenty of raw ability but has also proved prone to the odd error like the mistake at Newcastle.

    Newcastle United v Chelsea – Premier League – St James’ Park
    Frank Lampard, pictured, believes Kepa Arrizabalaga has to keep pushing to improve (Owen Humphreys/PA)
    Lampard insisted he did not speak to Kepa in the north east, and backed the Spain international to hit back to his best.

    “I didn’t have a direct conversation with him after the game at all,” said Lampard.

    “I’m sensitive to the fact that goalkeepers are under the microscope and that can be tough. He’s like any player, like a striker when it’s not going for him.

    “The only thing to do when it’s not going your way is to keep your head down and be humble and work. That’s what I push everybody here to do.

    “That doesn’t change position to position. He’s a good goalkeeper, we know that, and there have been times this season when he’s saved us points.

    “You look at the clean sheets and you’re happy. And sometimes we go, ‘is that an individual error or a team error?’ and the goalkeeper takes the brunt because we haven’t defended right as a team.

    “There’s lot of different circumstances. I don’t want to dwell on it as a negative, it’s a reality, we have to be honest, there’s a pool of us here and if it doesn’t go right we have to be better.”

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