Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois has an enviable goalkeeping record, having won a trophy in every year he has played at senior level, but he has never faced a competitive penalty shootout...
Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois has an enviable goalkeeping record, having won a trophy in every year he has played at senior level, but he has never faced a competitive penalty shootout and, with his side evenly matched against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Sunday’s League Cup final could be the big occasion to break his duck.
“It’s nice if every season you finish having won a trophy. Hopefully that will continue for a while, starting with this match,” Courtois said after training this week for the Wembley final. “This is the first final, and everybody wants to win the first trophy that is up for grabs this season.”
The lanky 22-year-old Belgian, who started his trophy haul winning his home championship with Genk, scooped a La Liga title, Europa League trophy and King’s Cup while on loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea.
Courtois, who rejoined Chelsea this season, said he never felt nervous, just well prepared.
“You have to be ready even if you are on the bench. You have to be ready always. It’s a final, and anything can happen.”
With Chelsea stalwart Petr Cech breathing down his neck for the regular goalkeeping spot with the Premier League leaders, Courtois needs to be ready to prove himself every game.
Cech has been enormously influential in his 10-year career with Chelsea, the highlight of which was two shootout saves that won Chelsea the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in 2012.
Courtois cannot yet compete with that, having taken part in a shootout only in a friendly while at Atletico.
“That was the only time I’ve been in a penalty shootout,” the Belgian said. “But we all work with the goalkeepers’ coach, we do our thing in practice. We will be prepared if it’s going to penalties.”
Chelsea beat Tottenham 3-0 at home earlier this season but suffered a 5-3 drubbing at White Hart Lane on New Year’s Day with Courtois in goal.
“But a final is a different game. It will be all different. It’s nothing to do with the league. It will be a different game.”