Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has played down the incident that saw goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refuse to be substituted. “It was a big misunderstanding.”
Chelsea lost to Manchester City on penalties in Sunday’s EFL Cup Final, but the Wembley showpiece descended into chaos when Kepa ignored Sarri’s calls for him to make way for Willy Caballero ahead of the shootout.
The former Napoli boss was visibly angered by the incident as he stormed down the tunnel before returning to his dugout.
“I misunderstood the problem and only realised the situation when the doctor arrived at the bench,” the 60-year-old said after the game.
“He understood I asked for a change for his physical problem. He said: ‘I haven’t a physical problem.’ And he was right.
“I realised after, when the doctor arrived. I have talked to him [the referee] but only to clarify because now I have understood the situation.
“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.”
- Have you EVER seen anything like it!?— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) February 24, 2019
Maurizio Sarri tries to substitute Kepa Arrizabalaga for Willy Caballero, but Kepa refuses to come off and Sarri is absolutely FURIOUS! pic.twitter.com/Q81v6ry3Kk
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