Maurizio Sarri: Kepa incident was “misunderstood”


Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri said the incident in Sunday’s League Cup final which saw goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refuse to come off was “misunderstood”.

The Blues’ £71million summer signing delayed the Cup final at Wembley Stadium as he defied instructions from Italian boss to be substituted moments before the game went to a penalty shoot-out.

Sarri cast an apoplectic figure as he stormed down the tunnel before returning to the technical area.

Speaking afterwards, the Chelsea boss said:

“I misunderstood the problem and only realised the situation when the doctor arrived at the bench,” he said.

“He understood I asked for a change for his physical problem. He said: ‘I haven’t a physical problem.’ And he was right.”

“It was a big misunderstanding because I understood the keeper had cramp and was unable to go to penalties. But it was not cramp and he could go to the penalties.

“I needed to return [down the tunnel]to be quiet.”

Kepa later reinforced what his manager said, insisting the incident was caused by “confusion”.

“It was misunderstood. In no moment was it my intention to disobey or anything like that with the boss,” said the 24-year-old Spaniard.

“It was two or three minutes of confusion until the medics got to the bench and they explained everything well.

“He thought I couldn’t continue, and – fundamentally – I was trying to say that physically I was fine.”

Kepa originally appeared to have an injury – leading to Chelsea preparing reserve goalkeeper, and former Manchester City shot-stopper, Willy Caballero – but Kepa refused to follow orders and Sarri eventually conceded to his player following a conversation with referee Jonathan Moss.


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When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

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