Willy Caballero was in goal for the first time in the Premier League this season as Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri decided to drop first choice goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for the 37-year-old Argentine.
Caballero started against Tottenham as Chelsea defeated Spurs 2-0 at Stamford Bridge and boost the club’s top four chances.
The Argentine might have been under pressure to deliver in this big game, but he was cool and calm as Chelsea went on to beat Tottenham without Spurs getting a shot on target.
Speaking after the game, Caballero admitted that he was pleased with his clean sheet and also the important victory against Tottenham.
Caballero said: “Of course we are happy. It’s a great result for us after the last game, and I think now we have to enjoy it, because every game for us is a lot of effort. We defended fantastically. Every victory is important, to be a little bit closer to Tottenham.
“We are behind a lot of teams but we will recover well. Always a clean sheet is a satisfaction. We spoke about what happened the other day, and the very good news is that Kepa was fantastic today, he supported me, and he learned, and we are improving as a team.”
Sarri said about his decision: “It’s a choice. It’s a message for my group. That we are a group, and not 25 players. It’s my choice.”
Chelsea fined Kepa a week’s wages as his action in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City put the club in bad light with rumours tending to suggest that Sarri has lost control of the dressing room.
Kepa was dropped to the bench for the Spurs clash as Sarri sent a message to the rest of the team, and Chelsea star Eden Hazard insisted before the game that the team are with the manager.
“We are all together,” said Hazard. “We are all with the manager. I know this month was a bit hard but we need to be together, stay together, if we want to do something at the end of the season.
“At the moment we have a bit of pressure because the fans want us to be in the top four, but we’re Chelsea and we can deal with the pressure. We will win games and that’s it.
“We are there. This is a hard game but we can close the gap a bit on Tottenham. We have the potential to be in the top four but we don’t have to think about that. We just have to think game after game and try to win one more game.
“We are playing for him [Sarri], the club, the fans and us. It’s not just about the manager. He puts the players on the pitch and then it’s down to the players to take responsibility. On Sunday we played a fantastic game, we need to look at that and try to repeat it. Then the manager will be happy.”