Kepa Issues Statement Over Row With Sarri And Insists ‘It Was Never My Intention To Disobey Chelsea Boss’

Kepa Arrizabalaga has refused to acknowledge that he disrespected his manager and insists the remarkable bust-up has been misunderstood.

The Spanish keeper left Maurizio Sarri furious after refusing to come off the field for Willy Caballero moments before the Carabao Cup penalty shootout defeat.

Arrizabalaga, 24, had fallen to the ground with cramp on two occasions late on in extra-time.

But with his number on the board and Caballero standing with his gloves on ready to face his former team-mates from 12-yards, the No1 stood his ground.

Sarri was so incensed that he appeared to head for the Wembley exit before eventually making his way back to the bench.

Arrizabalaga has played down the incident and insists he has full respect for the coach.

A statement posted to social media read: “I would like to clarify some facts of today’s match: First of all I regret how the end of the match has been portrayed.

“At no time has it been my intention to disobey the coach or any of his decisions. I think everything has been a misunderstanding in the heat of the final part of a match for a title.

“The coach thought I was not in a position to play on and my intention was to express that I was in good condition to continue helping the team, while the docs that had treated me arrived at the bench to give the message.

“I feel the image that has been portrayed was not my intention. I have full respect for the coach and his authority.”

Sarri also played down the incident and claimed Kepa was RIGHT to ignore his orders, but simply went about it in the wrong way.

And he plans on hauling him in for talks.

Sarri said: “I was really angry.

“I understood he had cramp, so I didn’t want the goalkeeper to go to the penalties in that physical condition. I realise the situation after three or four minutes when the doctor arrived on the bench.

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

“Kepa was right, but in the wrong way. Wrong in the way he conducted himself, but mentally he was right because he was able to go to the penalties. But I realised everything only when the doctor arrived on the bench. Not before.

“I want to talk with him because he needs to understand that, for a misunderstanding, we can go in trouble. So I think I have only to explain exactly the situation to Kepa. Without any other problem.

“Kepa only said: ‘No, no, I’m very well and able to continue.’ He understood I wanted to change for an injury. He was only telling me his word, saying he was really very well. So I think that, in 120 minutes, a discussion can happen with the players.

“I think we have to concentrate on football. Of course I will speak to him. As I said before, he was right for his motivation. But not for the conduct.”


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