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Rio Ferdinand has praised Frank Lampard for leaving Kepa Arrizabalaga out of his team for the FA Cup final against Arsenal and says the decision would have ‘sent a message’ to the rest of the Chelsea squad.
Lampard dropped Kepa – who cost Chelsea more than £70million – for their final Premier League match of the season, with Willy Caballero selected in goal for the 2-0 win against Wolves which secured a top-four finish.
Kepa was also benched for Sunday’s FA Cup final and while Chelsea were beaten 2-1 at Wembley, Ferdinand believes Lampard made the right decision.
‘I think it puts a marker down and tells you Frank Lampard is a manager who isn’t scared to make big decisions,’ the former Manchester United and England defender told BT Sport.
‘A £70million goalkeeper, huge money outlay for this goalkeeper and that adds pressure to a manager that you have to play him more or less and Frank has said I don’t care what you say he is not for me.
‘That sends an absolute message down to the rest of the squad no matter who you are and what level you think you are, if you don’t do a job on that pitch you will not play.
‘Me and my staff will not pick you and we will be looking elsewhere for replacements.
‘It is a huge statement and I think it is great from Frank. As a young manager making big decisions, he ain’t scared.’
Ferdinand added: ‘Lampard has made his big decisions in terms of recruitment early. Werner, Ziyech… this is where I want to improve.
‘He’s set his stall out early and for a manager so young into his career I think it bodes well for the future for him.’
Lampard, meanwhile, said his side can ‘only blame ourselves’ after Arsenal came from behind to beat Chelsea and win the FA Cup for a record 14th time.
‘We got complacent, took time on the ball like it was a stroll,’ the Blues boss told BBC One. ‘We didn’t play well enough to win a final.
‘A lot of today is on us. We started well for 10-15 minutes and we can only blame ourselves from that point.
‘A final can never be a stroll and we allowed them back into the game. We were slow, we played back on ourselves, invited pressure.’