Chelsea and Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is relishing a huge week for the Stamford Bridge outfit, saying he will have time to celebrate his recent trophy wins at the end of the season.
Mendy has enjoyed another strong campaign, lifting the Club World Cup with Thomas Tuchel’s team after starring in his nation’s first major trophy success at the Africa Cup of Nations.
He kept four clean sheets and was named the tournament’s best goalkeeper as Senegal lifted the trophy.
But with the London outfit facing a crucial week on two fronts, hosting Lille in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday before facing Liverpool in Sunday’s EFL Cup final, the 29-year-old says he is simply taking each game as it comes without any time to celebrate just yet.
“A lot of good things have happened in the last weeks,” Mendy said ahead of Chelsea’s first-leg clash with Lille. “I am very happy and proud of my success with the national team and Chelsea.
“I don’t have time to celebrate, because we have a lot of big games in the coming weeks, so I am just focused on the next game. I will have time to celebrate at the end of the season.
“It’s an important week but like I said, when you play for Chelsea you play for this kind of week, with finals and big games.
“We just [have to] focus on ourselves and what we have done well this season. We don’t need to do something new, just rely on our work and our game.”
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 22, 2022
Mendy, who has kept nine clean sheets in 21 league appearances for Chelsea in the Premier League this season, was also keen to praise teammate Kepa Arrizabalaga, who deputised ably when he travelled to Africa.
“My relationship with Kepa is good since I came here, we have a good relationship on and off the pitch,” he said.
“When you play for Chelsea, you have competition in every position, so you have to give your best and play at your highest level to be in the team at the weekend.”
Mendy also warned of the challenge posed by Lille ahead of the Ligue 1 holders’ trip to London, as Chelsea try to retain their Champions League title.
He added: “When it’s the Champions League and this stage of the competition, there are no easy draws.
“Lille are a very good team. They’ve struggled a bit more this season in the league [sitting 11th in Ligue 1 after 25 games] but it’s always difficult to be reigning champions.
“They will give everything to make it hard for us and get a result. It’s up to us to be wary of that and play our best football.”
Chelsea are the first Champions League holders to progress to the knockout stages without winning their group since Real Madrid in 2017-18, but the Spanish side did go on to retain their title that season.
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