Frank Lampard insisted that he remains “very happy” with Kepa Arrizabalaga despite the goalkeeper conceding a poor goal as Chelsea opened their Premier League campaign with a hard‑fought 3-1 victory against Brighton on Monday night.
Arrizabalaga was at fault when Leandro Trossard equalised for Brighton with a long-range effort and the £71.6m Spaniard could struggle to keep his place in the side once Chelsea finalise the signing of Edouard Mendy from Rennes. However, Lampard, who gave debuts in attack to Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, refused to criticise the former Athletic Bilbao player after his latest error.
“I am very happy with Kepa,” the Chelsea manager said. “With the shot I’m not sure if he could’ve done any better. But I saw a bit more confidence in how he was playing. Kepa is here, he’s our keeper and I’m happy with him. If we are bringing in a competition, it will be competition. That’s the nature of Chelsea and it goes throughout the squad.”
Chelsea had led through Jorginho’s penalty, which Werner won, and they recovered from Trossard’s goal thanks to strikes from Reece James and Kurt Zouma. They lacked fluency at times but Lampard, who has spent more than £200m this summer, promised his team will raise their game when Liverpool visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
“We will be better. This is our first game. We’ve got two players making their debuts tonight. We showed a lot of good stuff. It wasn’t where we want to be in the end. We will improve for Liverpool but the first game of the season is about getting a win when you come to a place like Brighton and we did a lot of good things to get that.”
Lampard, who was without Christian Pulisic after the winger picked up a minor knock in training, was hopeful that Werner will be fit for Liverpool after the striker went off with a sore knee. “I know the quality he is going to bring to the team,” he said. “We saw that with the speed to get the penalty. Timo took a knock when he won the penalty. It’s more of a dead leg we hope.”
Graham Potter, Brighton’s manager, was disappointed not to earn a point after a spirited display. “I thought we played overall and matched Chelsea quite well,” he said. “It’s disappointing to concede three goals.”
Chelsea are expected to send their young midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan to West Brom.