Senior Chelsea player admits changes in management have ‘cost’ the Blues this season

Harry Watkinson

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has claimed that the multiple changes in management this season have had a detrimental impact on the team.

The Blues were defeated 2-0 in their Champions League quarter-final bout with Real Madrid on Wednesday and barring something miraculous, will probably get knocked out of the competition.

It was Frank Lampard’s second match in charge since taking over as interim manager after Graham Potter was sacked earlier this month.

The Blues legend became the third coach to step into the Chelsea dugout this term, following Thomas Tuchel’s shock departure at the start of the campaign.

Speaking after the defeat in Madrid, Kepa said: “We leave with the feeling that they have been superior, it has cost us a lot to play in the opposite half and to create chances.

“It could even have been worse after the expulsion, because 30 minutes with one less [player] at the Bernabeu in the Champions League is a lot.

“They have had more chances, we have a lot to improve for the second leg.

“The feeling is that we are not at our level, we look at ourselves and the players are the first to be responsible.

“There have been three changes of coach, there have been changes in the squad during the season and it is costing us.”

Indeed, when Tuchel was removed from his post at the start of the campaign by Todd Boehly, it came as a major shock to most supporters.

Just last season, the German coach guided Chelsea to Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup victory, as well as securing a third place finish.

Potter was appointed as Tuchel’s replacement, but failed to repeat the success he had at Brighton and was sacked after less than seven months in charge.

As reported by the Daily Mail, Potter was paid £13million as a severance package, with a further £2m going to his backroom staff.

The English coach won just 12 of his 31 games in charge in west London before being relieved of his duties earlier this month.

Now, Chelsea sit in a disappointing 11th place in the Premier League table – 17 points adrift from the top four and winless in their last five matches.

Lampard is set to remain as Blues boss until the end of the season, but Boehly will no doubt be keen to make a long-term appointment as soon as possible.

Ex-Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann, who was, ironically, replaced by Tuchel at Bayern Munich, is thought to be one of the favourites.

Former Spain manager Luis Enrique is thought to be another potential option, so Kepa will have more changes of management to deal with next season.

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