KEPA ARRIZABALAGA has no problem with Frank Lampard despite the ex-Blues boss axing him from the starting XI.
Lampard bombed the Spaniard out the team in September after losing faith in his ability and signed £22million Edouard Mendy from Rennes to replace him.
Kepa, 26, played just one more Premier League game for Lampard until his sacking on January 26.
But the 11-cap Spain international has not held a grudge and told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope: “This is my third season at the club. My first year was a very good one on a personal and a collective level.
"We won the Europa League, finished third in the Premier League, qualified for the Champions League and finished as runners up in the FA Cup. I played many games both with Chelsea and Spain. But the second year a new manager [Lampard] arrived and it was hard.
"I want to clarify that I never had any problems with Lampard.
“Maybe I couldn't play my best football under him, but I played many games that season, even though I wasn't at my best. And in my third season I didn't play much up until now. It is a complicated and frustrating situation.”
Asked if Lampard was especially tough on him, Kepa added: “That is a question for him. My relationship with him was correct and a respectful one. It is true I did not play as much as I would have wanted.”
Lampard’s predecessor Maurizio Sarri signed Kepa for a world record £71.6m from Athletic Bilbao in August 2018.
But Lampard’s replacement Thomas Tuchel doesn’t fancy the £150,000-a-week stopper either – confirming Mendy was still No 1 after resting the Senegalese for Monday's 2-0 home win against Newcastle.
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However, Kepa – who stepped in and kept a clean sheet against the Toon – wants to stick it out at Stamford Bridge and force his way back into the team.
He said: “I want to stay at Chelsea. I know the club backs me up and I have proven I can play here. I want to play better, feel better, regain my confidence, look at the future and win back the No 1.
“I work hard to play games. I have played a couple of games lately and I have been feeling well. I want to feel important and play for Chelsea. I only think about that.
“I don't know what will happen in the next few months. My only target is to regain the No 1 at the club and enjoy. Then I don't know what will happen.”
Asked to rate his happiness out of ten Kepa replied: “I would say seven and a half. It is true that a couple of months ago I was less happy than I am now and it was all down to football. Outside football I am very happy.”
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