Chelsea: Tuchel confident of coping with FA Cup final pressure
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Edouard Mendy has admitted that he endured a “really tough time” after signing for Chelsea due to the lack of a winter break in England. Mendy has made a big impact since signing for the Blues from Rennes in September, but it has not all been plain sailing for the Senegal goalkeeper.
The 29-year-old joined Chelsea on a five-year deal for £22million at the start of the season and has since become the club’s first-choice keeper, ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga.
He has made 41 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea so far, keeping 16 clean sheets in the Premier League – a tally bettered only by Manchester City’s Ederson, who has 18.
Chelsea have improved since Thomas Tuchel took over from Frank Lampard in January and are now looking forward to the FA Cup and Champions League finals this month.
Mendy is likely to be on the bench when Chelsea take on Leicester in the FA Cup final on Saturday evening, with Kepa having played in all the previous ties in the competition.
However, barring a late change of heart from Tuchel, Mendy will play against Manchester City in the Champions League final in Porto on May 29.
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The occasion will cap a fine first season in English football, but Mendy admits that at times he has struggled to adapt to his new club.
“This was the first season for me without a winter break so, it was a very tough time mentally and physically because this is another rhythm, I had to adapt,” he told BBC Sport Africa.
“During the winter when subconsciously you are used to this winter break – a time of rest – but this time I didn’t have it.
“On the contrary, things even accelerate because you play every two days.
“It was really a tough time. Physically and mentally, doing that every two days with the intensity you can have in the Premier League and all that it requires to play a high-level match, is so hard.
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“But here we are, I worked physically and also mentally.
“Those are good things because you even learn more about yourself, you stretch yourself. It helped me to return to something very positive.”
Mendy has enjoyed working under Tuchel, with the former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain coach, but he knows their progress will mean less without a trophy.
“The new coach arrived, and the team performed well straight away, me included,” he said.
“So, today we arrive at the end of this season, a season that for the moment has been positive. But we need to complete that with titles.”
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