Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has been criticised by former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick for subbing on Kepa Arrizabalaga against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final.
The Blues ended up losing on penalties, with Kepa failing to save a single one of the eleven spot-kicks from Liverpool, before then missing his own effort to hand the Reds the trophy.
Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside, Chadwick made it clear he felt Tuchel made the wrong decision to take off Mendy after his superb performance across the 120 minutes.
“It was a really good game for a 0-0 draw, both teams had their moments. Liverpool were worthy winners, but at the same time if Chelsea had won the shoot-out they’d probably have felt like worthy winners as well,” Chadwick said.
“Obviously the massive talking point was Kepa coming on for Mendy for the penalty shoot-out, and then 21 penalties in a row being scored, before Kepa hit one over the bar. That’s going to grab the headlines, but overall I felt it was a really, really good watch, with both teams playing exciting attacking football.
“It was obviously the wrong decision, Mendy was exceptional on the day, he made some incredible saves as he tends to do. He was also on the back of winning the Africa Cup of Nations with a penalty shoot-out for Senegal against Egypt, so it was a big decision.
“Having said that, Mendy didn’t look surprised at all, it seems that was the plan all along. It’s worked for Tuchel before, but maybe in hindsight he’ll wish he’d stuck with Mendy. He was having a worldie, both goalkeepers in 120 minutes were exceptional, so maybe Chelsea could’ve done with that confidence.
“Kepa obviously just came in from the cold, had one goal kick and then had to deal with the penalties. He didn’t save any, so it didn’t work. If it had worked out we’d be saying what a fantastic decision it was by Tuchel, but it obviously didn’t work out on the day.”