JOE COLE and Chris Sutton heaped praise upon Edouard Mendy before Chelsea’s 7-0 win over Norwich, claiming the Blues have ‘gone up a level’ since his arrival.
Mendy, 29, kept his 22nd Chelsea clean sheet today as Thomas Tuchel’s European champions ran riot at Stamford Bridge.
The goalkeeper was barely called upon against the Canaries – in stark contrast to last Saturday’s rugged 1-0 win at Brentford.
Mendy made numerous world-class saves to keep the Bees at bay.
And costing just £22million from Rennes last year, Mendy is looking like one of Roman Abramovich’s best-ever buys.
Indeed, former Chelsea striker Sutton reckons the Blues have become a major force again thanks to the Senegal star’s performances.
And he also praised Mendy’s ice-cold composure after two years of the error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga as No1, telling BT Sport: “Chelsea have gone up a level since Mendy's come in, the shot-stopping is excellent. When I think of Kepa I think of a highly strung goalkeeper, with Mendy he's always in control.
“Some of these saves are incredible. He's agile, he's good with the ball at his feet. He is to Chelsea what Alisson has been to Liverpool.”
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Fellow pundit and Blues icon Cole added: “You're comparing him with the best in the world and he's standing on the shoulders of giants.
“We still need to see him for another year to say he's one of the best but he's definitely one of the best. You have to get the goalkeeper right, Chelsea have gone from there to Champions League winners.
“Chelsea have played all the big guns, so he's more than done his job. If he goes away with his national team and we miss him, the level could affect Chelsea. With Rudiger and Kante there's better players to come in.”
Despite becoming one of best goalies in world football, Mendy still failed to receive a nomination for this year’s Ballon d’Or award.
Chelsea teammate Antonio Rudiger admits he was left speechless by the decision, while Senegal pal Sadio Mane condemned it as ‘inadmissible’.
But Mendy, who has been nominated for the goalie-only Yachine Trophy, is not fazed.
He said: "I wouldn't use the word injustice to describe being left off the list. It is something that motivates me to continue working hard.
"To keep on making progress, and to perform well for Chelsea and for my national team. I discovered who was on the shortlist at the same time as many other people.
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"I got lots of messages from my family and friends as well as from people I didn't even know. I was really touched by all this affection. It will inspire me to keep up my good work.
"I am going to try to win trophies with Chelsea, as well as with Senegal from next January onwards. It has been pure pleasure, and a great source of motivation.
"Journalists have a free vote as to who is on the shortlist. It is their freedom of expression, and they vote with their souls and consciences."
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