Thomas Tuchel believes Edouard Mendy should have been included on the Ballon D’Or shortlist.
Mendy produced a string of stunning saves to thwart Brentford as Chelsea escaped with a 1-0 Premier League win by the skin of their teeth.
The 29-year-old Senegal goalkeeper denied Saman Ghoddos, Ivan Toney and Pontus Jansson at point-blank range, then still found time to tip away Christian Norgaard’s overhead kick.
Mendy proved integral to Chelsea’s Champions League triumph last term, and was entirely central to the Blues’ nervy win at the Brentford Community Stadium.
Five Chelsea players were included on the 30-man list for the prestigious Ballon D’Or gong but Mendy was not among them.
Asked if his goalkeeper merited inclusion, Tuchel replied: “Yes. But, you know, I’m happy. And it’s more important that he performs like this as he did today than that he’s on any list.
“I hope it does not bother him, because it does not bother me too much. He’s not too influenced by that.
“I think we could be on that list as a whole team, we won that competition as a team. If we have five names or six names it doesn’t matter.
“We won the Champions League with 21, 23 guys, everybody played their role.
“Today we relied on him heavily again today, he’s the guy who performs so well for us and that we’re so happy for. So everything is good.”
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger who was sidelined for the game, added his backing to Mendy, writing on Twitter: “Someone explain why he’s not nominated for the ballon d’or. What a performance”.
Ben Chilwell’s sweet half-volley somehow settled a turbulent contest in which Chelsea struggled for fluency but still ground out the result.
The Blues stepped back above Liverpool to return to the top of the table, but were pushed right to the limit by Thomas Frank’s impressive Bees.
Bryan Mbeumo twice struck the woodwork for the inspired hosts, while Trevoh Chalobah also cleared a Norgaard effort off the line.
Brentford boss Frank was left to lament a loss when he felt his side fully deserved to win, while also heaping praise on man of the match Mendy.
Asked what he said to Mendy after the final whistle, Frank said: “He was absolutely world class, and I think he’s been crazy good for Chelsea.
Thomas Frank, right, could not believe his side failed to score (John Walton/PA)
“I just said to him it was a little bit annoying that he was so good today. So I just praised him. If you want to win anything as a team and a club, you’ve got to have a great goalkeeper.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t get past Mendy, and Chelsea should praise themselves for Mendy. They have a very good keeper, and without him they wouldn’t be top of the league.
“We created five 100 per cent chances, plus other chances. So there should only be one winner from that game, and that is us.
“It’s crazy if you look at the stats after the game. Nine out of 10 times we would have won this match.”