keeper Kepa

Chelsea FC manager Thomas Tuchel has defended his decision to bring on keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in their EFL Cup final loss to Liverpool.

Kepa came off the bench in the closing stages of extra time specifically for the penalty shoot-out but failed to convert his kick after shipping in all kicks taken by the opposing team.

Despite the keeper coming under scrutiny after the game, Tuchel decided to shoulder the blame.

“Do you think we do this and don’t talk to the players? The players know the plan and we have done it before. If you want to blame somebody, blame me; this is not a problem.

“I take the decisions and I don’t take them to try to be the hero. Today it took 11 penalties to find the winner. And if you want to blame anyone blame me, there’s no problem,” Tuchel said after the game.

Chelsea had subbed Kepa on for Edouard Mendy for the penalty shoot-out in the European Super Cup final against Villarreal in August and the switch paid off in Belfast as the Blues prevailed 6-5 at Windsor Park.

But the plan did not bear fruit at Wembley, as Jurgen Klopp secured his first domestic cup as Liverpool manager.

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