Lampard praises "low-maintenance" Mendy earlier than Rennes see them once more
Frank Lampard has praised "low maintenance" Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy as he prepares to take on his former club Rennes in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Chelsea signed Mendy from Ligue 1 in September to help resolve his defensive problems. Last season he had the worst defensive record of any top 10 Premier League team.
The 28-year-old has excelled since joining Stamford Bridge, playing five clean sheets and conceding just one goal in his six games. Chelsea head coach Lampard has praised his influence on and off the field.
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He said, "When we tried to sign it, we obviously did some research. Petr Cech was heavily involved – I think that's pretty common.
"All of the feedback was that he had a great personality and a strong personality in the locker room. Everything I heard, all of these positives, came through.
"He's very low maintenance, works hard, is eager to get in touch with his teammates and me. He has a smile on his face and has played well.
"When I say 'low maintenance' I'm not trying to compare myself to other players, a lot of that is the feedback I get from the coaches and I got that feedback with the other goalkeepers.
"It's really positive when a player comes in and hits the ground on the field, but it's also very positive in the dressing room."
"What he has shown so far has been very complete. He has saved in games that have certainly helped us. He gives a sense of calm, his distribution, he comes for crosses … things you want from your goalkeeper. "
Lampard was concerned about the players' long-term fitness
Rennes 'visit to Stamford Bridge marks Chelsea's sixth game in 19 days, and Lampard admits he is concerned about how the congested fixture list will affect his players' long-term fitness.
Chelsea's 2019-20 season didn't end until Aug. 8 after coronavirus forced a mid-season suspension. Just a month later, they started their 2020-21 season as the teams couldn't have a full preseason.
When asked if he was concerned about the toll that will affect his players' fitness later on, Lampard said, "Yes, I am. I understand what the lack of a preseason does.
"I was aware of that when I was a player, when I came back from tournaments and the preseason was shorter. It could either affect the start of my season or it could hit me later."
"I think we are in this dire straits with the players. They didn't have a preseason and are now being brought into play game after game.
"We have a squad here and it's my job to achieve a certain consistency in the selection process – especially when we're in good shape – to keep the squad fresh and fit.
"I know the demands of the season are going to be tough. It's not an excuse from me or a manager – it's just a reality.
"In normal times, I think it's a challenge for a squad and now it's even tighter, so many managers are now calling for more subs in the Premier League.
"We know these demands can put players in places where they are at real risk of injury. We have to deal with what lies ahead."