EDOUARD MENDY was one of the first players to run up and jump on Chelsea’s penalty shootout hero, Kepa Arrizabalaga.

That was despite the goalkeeper, who started the game, being replaced by Spaniard Kepa just before penalties in the Super Cup against Villarreal.

Edouard Mendy came off for Kepa

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Edouard Mendy came off for KepaCredit: Getty

It was perhaps no surprise at all for Chelsea fans to see Mendy – after being taken off purely for Kepa to come on – be the first to congratulate and celebrate with Kepa.

It is a real testament to mentality and team spirit that this squad have; they are in this together and they are all playing their part.

Kepa saved two penalties in the shootout to see Chelsea win the cup final, their second European trophy in a row, and this saw him become an unexpected hero on the night.

Chelsea weren’t amazing tonight by any stretch of the word, they were quite lucky to actually see it though to penalties.

They looked rusty and at times not at the races. However, they never lost their character, they never lost that spirit.

Thomas Tuchel was treating the team talk before the penalties began just like it was the Champions League final once again.

The players were motivating each other during the shootout just like it was an FA Cup final.

THIS is team spirit and squad morale, and THIS is what Chelsea showed once again that they have under Tuchel.

If nothing else tonight, they proved motivated enough to win the game and help build motivation ahead of another Premier League season.

Winning matches and winning trophies goes a long way to keep morale high in the squad, and as does using as many players as you can, like Tuchel has done.

It was genius bringing Kepa on.

Not just because he is an expert at saving penalties, but bringing him on, telling him that you need him to go out there and win you the match, will do wonders for Kepa’s confidence.

And, he would have gone out there with the belief that he can win this for Chelsea because the coach told him he can.

It will do wonders for him going into the season, a season where Chelsea are going to really need him in the absence of Mendy when he goes off to the African Cup of Nations for a few weeks.

As I said, Chelsea were not great tonight, but they did the job and they did what was needed, they won the trophy.

This will go a long way come Saturday having that winning momentum and confidence.

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Tuchel is building something special here at Chelsea and you can just feel it in the air at Stamford Bridge.

Victories like this, despite it still being pre-season with many rusty players, go along way over the course of the season.

It proves they can battle and fight and squeeze out a victory, but most importantly, it proves that this squad of players have a real togetherness about them and a hunger for success and trophies.

Chelsea players celebrate with shootout hero Kepa

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Chelsea players celebrate with shootout hero KepaCredit: AFP
Chelsea lift the Super Cup after beating Villarreal on penalties

 



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