Edouard Mendy has established himself as Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper after again “showing his quality” in his side’s goalless Champions League draw with Sevilla, says boss Frank Lampard.
Mendy, who joined from Rennes in September, produced an excellent save to help the Blues open their European campaign with a hard-earned point against Europa League holders Sevilla.
In a game of few clear-cut chances, the Senegal international marked his return from injury by clawing away Nemanja Gudelj’s header after it had flicked off Kurt Zouma.
It was a pivotal moment of the game and Lampard praised his recent signing, who was brought in to strengthen his options following the erratic form of Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea’s £71m signing from Athletic Bilbao.
Asked if Mendy is already Chelsea’s number one, Lampard said: “At the moment, yes. He’s shown his quality.
“The way he’s played, he’s played very well, that’s two clean sheets for him already.
“As it stands he is the number one but that’s always up for grabs. But the way he’s playing I’m very happy.”
In what was Chelsea’s first goalless draw under Lampard, the Blues produced a solid defensive performance without managing to score at the other end.
Zouma and Ben Chilwell both headed chances straight at goalkeeper Yassine Bounou before Sevilla went close to taking the lead in spectacular fashion through substitute Joan Jordan’s dipping volley.
With Group E rivals Rennes held 1-1 in France, Chelsea head to Russia next Wednesday to face Krasnodar with all four teams on one point.
Chelsea have started this season with a flurry of goals at one end of the pitch – and defensive implosions at the other.
While they failed to score for only the second time in eight games this season, Lampard’s side at least managed a clean sheet after a much-improved performance at the back.
Fifty-eight days after appearing in the final for Paris St-Germain, Thiago Silva returned to the Champions League stage as Lampard shuffled his defence after conceding three against Southampton last Saturday.
Reece James also marked his return with a solid display on a night Lampard became only the second Englishman to manage in two Champions League campaigns, after Sir Bobby Robson.
“The clean sheet was a big deal for us,” added Lampard.
“Seville are a top team in European football. The concentration and focus to get the result was big from the team.
“We made a lot of good decisions, so it’s a really nice place for us to build from.”
Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy makes a save during his side’s Champions League goalless stalemate with Sevilla
Edouard Mendy produced a solid display as Chelsea recorded a first clean sheet in the Champions League since winning 1-0 at Ajax in October 2019
Chelsea spent £250m during the summer transfer window, with five of their recent additions starting this game.
Three – Mendy, Chilwell, and Silva – impressed at the back as the Blues produced their best defensive performance of the season to stop the Spanish visitors from scoring on the night 38-year-old keeper Petr Cech, who retired in 2019, was named in Chelsea’s Premier League squad.
Sevilla beat Wolves and Manchester United on their way to winning the Europa League last season but they were unable to find a way past a well-drilled Chelsea backline.
Chilwell also impressed going forward and it was his corner which set up a great chance for the unmarked Zouma.
The former Leicester player was presented with a chance of his own but could not beat Bounou.