It was a bit of a surprise when Rafa preferred Grant Hanley to Chancel Mbemba against Fulham in the first game but Chancel had missed the last pre-season friendly against Vitesse with an ankle injury and Grant had played well alongside captain Jamaal Lascelles.
Rafa has explained Chancel’s omission and he has said it was an easy decision because Chancel missed some training sessions in the week before the Fulham game.
Chancel Mbemba having a laugh in training
But Rafa seems to rate Chancel highly and he had this to say when asked about Mbemba being on the bench at Craven Cottage:
“Maybe he lost two or three training sessions, so he couldn’t train in the days before the game.”
“The other two were training all the time together. It was an easy decision not to play him.”
“I could see that he was a little bit down because of that.” “I’m really impressed this week – he’s been really happy.”
“I was happy with him and he’s happy. “Always a foreign player needs more time to settle, but this week was a step forward for him.”
We had thought Grant had come in because of his extra height to combat the 6ft 6ins striker Matt Smith who happened to score the winning goal for Fulham just before half time.
It will be interesting to see who partners Jamaal Lascelles at the back today at home to Huddersfield.
We were thinking it would be Hanley again – but maybe not.
Chancel Mbemba can also play at right back.
What do you think?