Douard Mendy is aiming to continue his golden year in what could prove to be a defining week for Chelsea in their bid to claim more silverware under Thomas Tuchel.
The Blues take on Lille at Stamford Bridge tonight as they enter the round of 16 of their Champions League title defense before facing Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium this weekend.
Mendy enjoyed an astounding spell with Chelsea and Senegal, winning the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup under Tuchel, as well as the Africa Cup of Nations trophy in Cameroon in Beginning of the month. On an individual note, the 29-year-old won the Fifa Best Award for the best goalkeeper in 2021.
Despite his remarkable success, Mendy – who signed from Rennes in 2020 – says he wastes no time celebrating and is relishing a huge week in Chelsea’s season.
“A lot of good things have happened in the last few weeks,” Mendy said. “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’m just focused on the next game and I’ll have time to celebrate at the end of the season.
“Of course 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 focus on ourselves and what we have done well this season. We just focus, we don’t need to do anything new, just stay and rely on our work and our play.”
During Mendy’s spell with Senegal, Kepa Arrizabalaga impressed as he slipped back to Tuchel’s side and poses perhaps the biggest challenge to Mendy’s place as first-choice keeper since arriving to replace the struggling Spaniard. .
Kepa’s performance didn’t surprise his teammate, however, who rose to the challenge.
“My relationship with Kepa has been good since I’ve been here,” Mendy said. “We have a good relationship on and off the pitch.
“He did very well when I was at CAN but it didn’t surprise me because I saw him every day in training. I was super happy for him because he deserves it.
“When you play for Chelsea you have competition in every position, so you have to perform at your best and play at your highest level to be in the team at the weekend.”
Lille was considered perhaps the easiest encounter Chelsea could have asked for in the last-16 draw in December, with the French champions currently 11th in Ligue 1.
Mendy, however, warned that they needed to be at their best to avoid a mistake against such underdogs.
“When it’s the Champions League and this stage of the competition, there’s no easy draw,” Mendy said. “Lille won their group and I think that reflects the performances they produced in this competition against teams like Sevilla and Salzburg. They performed well, so it’s definitely not an easy draw.
“Lille are a very good team. They have suffered a little more this season in the league but it is always difficult to be the defending champion.
“They played very well in the Champions League and will give everything to make it difficult for us and get a result. So it’s up to us to beware of them and play our best football.”