Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says a lot of the “spotlight” on under-fire goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is unfair.
The 25-year-old Spaniard has not featured in Chelsea’s past two games after making an error in the 2-0 defeat by Liverpool last week.
Willy Caballero has started instead, and the Blues have also completed the signing of Edouard Mendy from Rennes.
“I certainly won’t go to the point of saying Kepa has played his last game for Chelsea,” said Lampard.
“We have to also understand Kepa is a young man. A lot of the spotlight on him has become unfair. I have to protect him because I know he’s a good lad trying to do his best.”
Lampard says new signing Mendy, 28, will be in the squad for Tuesday’s trip to Tottenham in the last 16 of the Carabao Cup.
Tottenham, who drew 1-1 with Newcastle on Sunday, face Maccabi Haifa in a Europa League qualifier on Thursday, but Lampard still expects boss Jose Mourinho to name a strong side.
“I know for Jose it’s a busy time with the Europa League,” he said. “When I analyse Tottenham and see the squad that didn’t play 90 minutes yesterday, I see a very strong squad.”