Thomas Tuchel has moved to hand embattled goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga a “new start” at Chelsea.
New boss Tuchel will hand Spaniard Kepa a start in Thursday’s FA Cup fifth-round trip to Barnsley.
The £72m recruit has failed to live up to that record price tag for a keeper in 2018, and has fallen behind summer signing Edouard Mendy in Chelsea’s pecking order.
Tuchel has continued with Mendy as first choice after replacing Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge, but has now insisted Kepa can still rebuild his career in west London.
“It’s very important for me to say this: he doesn’t have to overachieve,” said Tuchel.
“I want him to play a normal match tomorrow. He does not have to show me or anybody else tomorrow he is ready to be Spain’s number one in the summer.
“He just has to show his quality. Not more or less. So we have to manage expectations because I don’t expect him to score and keep a clean sheet.
“I just want him to help us with his quality and for him to give a solid performance to help the team. He has big goals to achieve and big personal ambition. But this is normal; it’s why he’s here.
Arrizabalaga has started all of Chelsea’s FA Cup fixtures this season
“No goalkeeper wants to sit on the bench, I understand that. And none of my guys want to travel tomorrow to sit on the bench.
“The situation for Kepa is the situation he finds right now. We didn’t make a change in the first games and Edou was strong in the moment.
“From the outside he had maybe some difficulties on the sporting side, and maybe also the circumstances of his transfer were a little bit on his shoulders. That was the impression from outside.
“From inside I see a nice guy, I see a nice personality, an open personality, a hard-working guy, with obviously a lot of quality.
“So the good thing for him is that we start new, it’s a new start for him. I don’t have a history with him and I hope there will be no…