Frank Lampard says Edouard Mendy looks the “complete” package after finally solving Chelsea's keeper crisis.
Chelsea No.1 Mendy will face former club Rennes in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday and his £22million move already looks a great piece of business.
Mendy, 28, became the first Chelsea keeper since Petr Cech in 2004 to start his Premier League career with three consecutive clean sheets and has only conceded one goal in six games.
Blues boss Lampard signed Mendy to solve his defensive problems as £76m keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has struggled in English football and kept making mistakes.
But Lampard must now feel Mendy has justified his faith especially as he has also earned glowing praise from Chelsea’s technical adviser Cech who became the club’s greatest keeper of all time having also joined from Rennes.
Lampard said: “What he has shown so far has been very complete, those clean sheets have shown big parts of his game, he’s made saves in moments in games that have certainly helped us and if goals had have gone in, the games could have gone the other way.
“Against Manchester United, particularly the first-half save against Rashford, with his feet, was a really top class save. He’s given off a sense of calm in his distribution and his coming for crosses – things you just want from your goalkeeper and he’s done that but I’m sure he’ll improve.
“I think when Pete says he can get better, he’s talking about the fact that it’s really early days for him at the club. He’s settling in still to the group but I don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves because it’s been a really good start for him.
“He’s shown great qualities so far. I think there is going to be a lot more to come and with his attitude, which is key and I’ve seen how he wants to work and how he wants to be and the humility of him, I think he can go much further in many departments.”
Cech has of course been registered in Chelsea’s Premier League squad as emergency cover and has also taken some coaching sessions with the club’s keepers, Mendy, Kepa and Willy Caballero.
The joke around the training ground is that, even at 38, Cech is still the best of the lot but Mendy now finally appears to be filling the legendary keeper’s shoes.
Lampard says not only is Mendy – who was unemployed and not with a club just five years ago – a top keeper but also a strong personality who is not demanding or any trouble to manage.
Lampard said: “When we into looking into signing Edouard we made the enquiries on the pitch and Petr was heavily involved in that. It’s common knowledge.
“So all the feedback was that he had a great and a strong personality in the dressing room. And everything I heard has come true.
"He is very low maintenance, he works hard wants to work more and is eager to engage with his team-mates and myself.
“A smile on his face and he is playing well. It’s a real positive when you have a player who comes in and hits the ground running but also in the dressing room.
“But what’s been nice is that he’s shown that work ethic, he smiles every day, he’s not asking a million questions but he’s asking enough questions which are really relevant, little individual things about his relationship with the players around him on the pitch.
“Things I love, players to engage with each other. So I’ve really enjoyed that positive side, his engagement and he hasn’t knocked on my door much because he probably hasn’t had any reason to.
“I just sense that from him, which is nice, and the squad generally is low maintenance. There are moments when they have to come and speak to me, that’s just football and every player is different.
"It seems his personality is pretty laid back with a tough edge when it comes to work.”
Chelsea will be without Christian Pulisic whose “slight” hamstring injury will not be risked while Lampard also admitted he will have to manage players through the tough schedule, even having “honest” conversations with veteran Thiago Silva so as not to overplay him.
But Rennes gives them a big chance for another win, a major step towards the knock-out stages and Lampard believes the defence is key.
Lampard added: “In the Group we are happy, Seville was a tough match and it was probably a fair result for both teams and then we go and get a good result in Russia.
“We have still got a lot of work to do to make sure we don’t get complacent at this point because we know if Rennes come and get any sort of result at our place it changes the face of the table.
“The recent clean sheets have been great. Obviously something we’ve been looking at. It’s always something I’m looking at to improve from last season.”
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