Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa confident he can turn things around

Kepa Arrizabalaga has said he's "calm and confident" that he can turn his Chelsea nightmare around.

The £71 million goalkeeper has come under fire after a string of high-profile blunders and has now lost his place to Edouard Mendy, who signed from Rennes last month.

Kepa, 26, hasn't started for Chelsea since a costly mistake in their 2-0 defeat to Liverpool on Sept. 20, while he was also at fault on the Premier League season's opening weekend against Brighton.

"I'm good. I feel strong, I feel confident," Kepa said in a news conference with Spain on Tuesday.

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"Maybe it isn't my dream situation or what I'd hope for, but in a footballer's career you have moments like this. I'm working with calm and I'm confident I can turn it around so that when I have the chance to play, I do it as well as possible."

The former Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper remains a contender for his country, competing for the number one shirt with Manchester United 's David de Gea, and could start in Spain's friendly with Portugal on Wednesday.

"Obviously all players want to play. I do too," he said. "I'm not looking beyond the day-to-day, my focus now is on the national team's games. In football it's difficult to look to the medium or long term, everything can change from one day to the next."

Kepa became the most expensive goalkeeper in history when he joined Chelsea from Bilbao in August 2018.

"In the life of a player there are ups and downs," he said. "Maybe right now I'm not in the same situation as I was this time last year. All I can do is work, that's in my hands, I've shown the level I have, I'm sure I'll keep showing it... We have three games here and if I have the chance to play, I'll try to make the most of it."

Kepa was singled out for criticism by Chelsea boss Frank Lampard after the Liverpool defeat, describing his attempted clearance -- which was blocked by Sadio Mane -- as a "clear mistake" and saying that: "Kepa has to keep working."

"Each coach has his way of communicating and of acting with the press," Kepa said when asked if the comments surprised him.

"I feel the confidence of the club and of the national team. I'm playing for two top teams, two great coaches, that's what I focus on... I went to Chelsea at 23-years-old, a top club. It's an exciting project. I'm happy to be where I am, at the club I'm at."

Spain coach Luis Enrique -- who will see his side face Portugal before two UEFA Nations League games with Switzerland and Ukraine -- was also quick to defend the goalkeeper.

"People think the life of a footballer is marvellous, and it is, but it also has a lot of difficult situations you have to deal with," he said.

"I spoke to Kepa in September, I spoke to him again when we met up yesterday. He looks good to me, really mature. It's not the nicest situation but it's not the end of the world either.

"It happens in the careers of all players. The majority or all of us been through delicate sporting situations," he added. "It's the ideal moment to show what Kepa is made of. I've seen him training at a really high level, he looks motivated, happy and animated."