Maurizio Sarri has got the boardroom backing to bomb rebel keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Sarri’s stock rose with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia over his cool handling of senior players following the volatile fallout from Kepa’s Wembley revolt.
The head coach will today decide whether to axe the Spaniard in favour of Willy Caballero against Tottenham tonight.
“If the consequence is to be on the bench, he has to be ready to go to the bench.
“It will be a decision for the good of the group. I want to send a message to them. I don’t know if he will play. I have to decide.”
But the Itanlia pleaded with Blues fans to go easy on Kepa this evening.
He said: “We don’t want to kill him.
“He said sorry to his team-mates, to the club. He made a big mistake but we need to be tolerant.”
The Blues board, who have been weighing up replacements for Sarri, hope this is the turning point in his Stamford Bridge career.
And asked whether he thought the players respect him more now, Sarri answered: “Yes.”
The manager held talks with Kepa on Monday as they attempted to clear up the Carabao Cup final “misunderstanding”, when the keeper refused to be subbed off for penalty specialist Willy Caballero.
Kepa was fined a week’s wages, around £190,000.
Sarri added: “We spoke and he said sorry — but that was not enough.
“It was a board decision to fine him. He has to accept the club’s decision.”