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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel will hand Chelsea’s record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga a rare starting opportunity in tonight’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Barnsley.
Arrizabalaga joined Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao for £72 million, a world record for a goalkeeper, but he struggled under former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard.
Kepa’s last appearance for Chelsea came in last month’s FA Cup victory over Luton where he made another alarming error in what ultimately turned out to be Lampard’s last game in charge of the Blues.
According to Tuchel, the world record fee the club paid for Kepa weighed heavily on his shoulders and affected his performances.
Tuchel said: “He will play [against Barnsley]. From outside, of course we had a view on his situation and some difficulties on the sporting side. Maybe, also, the circumstances of his transfer are a little bit on his shoulders. That was the impression from far away, from outside.
“The good thing for him is that we start new, that this is a new start for him because I don’t have a history with him and I hope there will be no difficulties and I don’t see them coming.
Asked if he believes Kepa can turnaround his situation at Chelsea, Tuchel replied: “Absolutely. Today, I absolutely believe this.
“It is our job to push the guy to the limit. And we are pretty selfish because we want to have them in the best shape on the pitch.
“Of course, the club want the market value to stay or increase but for me it is pretty selfish, we want the guy in the best shape and we want the best competition in any position.
“From inside, I see a nice guy, a nice personality, an open personality. A hard working guy with, obviously, a lot of quality. He deserves to be here. He’s a sports guy who loves competition, he does everything to impress in training.
“I want him to play a normal match. He does not have to show me or anybody else that he is ready to be Spain’s number one in the summer. He has just to show his quality. Not more and not less. It is normal that he has higher goals to achieve in his personal ambition, that’s why he is here.”