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Sarri on Kepa incident: ‘It was a big misunderstanding’

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OK, then

Chelsea may have had the best performance of their entire season today, shutting Manchester City down to a goalless draw at Wembley across 120 minutes of play and almost nicking the League Cup title in the penalty shootout. However, the post-match talk will instead be permeated by young goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s defiance when asked to be substituted during the match, refusing to leave the pitch to give way to veteran Wilfredo Caballero and leaving his coaches, Maurizio Sarri and Gianfranco Sarri, irate with his action.

The incident has completely turned the tables for Sarri. He who was seen as a coach on borrowed time now has a lot of backing from the public who have been outraged by Kepa’s attitude.

But there is no need for such an outcry, at least if we go by the tone of the words said by Sarri during his post-match conference. He deemed the incident ‘a big misunderstanding’, as he saw fit to substitute Kepa for Caballero after the former went to the ground with an injury. Turns out, he was still fit to continue playing.

“It was a big misunderstanding. I wanted Caballero on the pitch but the goalkeeper wanted to let me now he was in condition to go to the penalties.”

“I thought Kepa was unable to go to penalties. I wanted Caballero on the pitch because I was afraid of cramps, but the doctor explained it wasn’t cramp.”

Nevertheless, Sarri wants to have a talk with the young goalkeeper who clearly has a lot of learn. We can give him all the props for his attitude, but it is never a good look when a manager is met with such disobedience from a player.

“I want to talk with him as he needs to understand we can get in trouble, especially with [the media]. [...] He was right [to stay] for the motivation, but not for the conduct.”

-Maurizio Sarri; Source: football.london

Still we can question whether Sarri himself is being truthful, or if he just wants to sugarcoat Kepa’s action. In the heat of the moment, he almost left the sidelines and afterwards, he was still furious with the goalkeeper. It is difficult to believe that he has cooled his head in less than an hour after event. Especially when this will be the talk of the town for the rest of the week.

Good luck dealing with that.