Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has hit out at reports suggesting that a rift exists between him and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizzbalaga. The latter is said to be considering an exit after losing his spot as the Blues' first-choice shot-stopper following an underwhelming campaign so far.
After coming under immense criticism following a series of poor performances, the world's most expensive goalkeeper lost his place in the Blues' starting lineup and has `since lost his place in the last five outings to Willy Caballero. On the back of this development, recent reports from the UK media have suggested that the former Athletic Club goalie will hand in a transfer request at the end of the season with rumors of him being at logger-heads with Lampard also lingering.
Ahead of Chelsea's clash with Bournemouth on Saturday, the Blues' manager slammed claims of an existing fall-out between him and Kepa and also commended the player for his professionalism.
"I've read quite a bit of nonsense this week with people guessing," he told the news conference.
"Every time a player puts on a shirt, they are in control of their destiny, individually. We can't always control collectively what a result will be. All I'm focused on is what we do game by game to try to get the best finish possible. And then there are decisions for the club ongoing in the summer.
"We have to look at that but there's no way I'm jumping into the future now, and as I said, a lot of the reports were wrong.
Out and ready to train at Cobham! pic.twitter.com/aMfSpzMGgO— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 27, 2020
"My relationship is fine, between player and manager," Lampard added.
"I have 20 or so players to keep happy and I can't keep them all happy at the same time. All I expect is professionalism in training, which Kepa has given.
"The position is the same: you train well to try to get in the team when you're not in it. When you play, you try to play at performance levels that keep you in the team. They are the standards we have to have at this club.
"Every player is in control of their own destiny to a degree with that and how they turn up every day, and Kepa has been training well. But Willy is also training well and has also been playing pretty well - he made some good saves against Bayern [Munich on Tuesday].
"So, I have competition there and I will decide as we go. I am very strong on how you turn up every day is pivotal in how you are as a Chelsea player."
Meanwhile, a return to the starting lineup might not be far off for Kepa with the call for Caballero yet to pay much dividends. In the five games that he has featured in, the Argentine shot-stopper has conceded nine goals while his side has managed just six. Only two of the games have ended in wins with two of the remaining three ending in defeats.