3 November 2020

Lampard Praises 'Complete' Mendy Ahead Of Rennes Reunion  (Sky Sports)

Edouard MendyFrank Lampard has heaped praise on "low maintenance" and "very complete" Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy as he prepares to face his former club Rennes in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Chelsea signed Mendy from the Ligue 1 side in September in a bid to help resolve their defensive issues, having finished with the worst defensive record of any top-10 Premier League team last season.

The 28-year-old has excelled since moving to Stamford Bridge, keeping five clean sheets and conceding just one goal in his six appearances, and Chelsea head coach Lampard has hailed his influence on and off the field.

He said: "When we looked to sign him, we obviously made enquiries. Petr Cech was heavily involved - I think that's pretty common knowledge.

"All the feedback was that he had a great personality and was a strong personality in the dressing room. Everything I heard, all those positives, have come through.

"He's very low maintenance, he works hard, is eager to engage with his teammates and myself. He's got a smile on his face and has played well.

"When I say low maintenance, I'm not trying to compare to other players. A lot of that is feedback I get from the coaches, and I've had that feedback with the other 'keepers.

"It's a real positive when you have a player that comes in and hits the ground running on the pitch, but also is a real positive in the dressing room.

"What he's shown so far has been very complete. He's made saves in games that have certainly helped us. He's giving off a sense of calm, his distribution, he's coming for crosses… things you want from your goalkeeper."

Lampard worried about players' long-term fitness

Rennes' visit to Stamford Bridge will be Chelsea's sixth match in 19 days, and Lampard admits he is concerned about how the congested fixture list will impact his players' long-term fitness.

Chelsea's 2019-20 season only finished on August 8 after the coronavirus forced a mid-season suspension, and they began their 2020-21 campaign just a month later, with teams unable to have a full pre-season.

Asked if he is worried what toll that will take on his players' fitness further down the line, Lampard said: "Yes, I am. I understand what missing a pre-season does.

"I was aware of it when I was a player when I came back from tournaments and pre-season was shorter. It could either affect the start of my season or it could hit me later on.

"I think we're certainly in that predicament with the players now. They've had the lack of a pre-season and they're now being thrust into game after game.

"We do have a squad here and it's my job to balance getting some consistency in selection - particularly if we are in good form - with keeping the squad fresh and fit.

"I know the demands of the season are going to be tough. It's not an excuse from myself or any manager - it's just reality.

"In normal times, I think it's demanding on a squad and now it's even tighter, hence why a lot of managers now are calling for more subs in the Premier League.

"We know these demands can take the players to places where they're in a real injury risk. We have to deal with what's in front of us."

The Soccerlinks Hit List