Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri said on Sunday that the refusal of his goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to be substituted in Sunday’s League Cup final match was the result of a “big misunderstanding”.
The Italian manager said the Spaniard “was right but in the wrong way”.
Arrizabalaga appeared to be injured as he prevented Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero from scoring in the closing moments of extra time.
Sarri then ordered his substitution, before Chelsea went on to lose the final 4-3 in a penalty kicks shootout.
But with the change already displayed to the stadium by the fourth official, and Chelsea’s reserve goalkeeper Willy Caballero ready to come on, Kepa insisted he was fit to carry on.
He remained on the field to the visible anger of Sarri.
“It was a big misunderstanding, because I understood that he had a cramp. So, I didn’t want a goalkeeper (to) go to the penalty kicks in that physical condition,” Sarri told reporters.
“The goalkeeper wanted only to let me know that he was in condition to go to the penalty kicks,” the Italian said.
“It was only a big misunderstanding. Kepa was right, but in the wrong way.”
Arrizabalaga remained on the field for the penalty kicks shootout which Manchester City won 4-3 after the showpiece match ended 0-0 after extra time to retain the trophy.
Sarri said he would talk to the Spaniard about what happened.
The goalkeeper became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he joined Chelsea for 80 million euros (£69.4 million) last year.
“I want to talk with him because he needs to understand that for a misunderstanding we can (get) in trouble, especially with you,” he told the reporters.
“So, I think I have only to explain exactly the situation to Kepa, but without any other problem.”
Sarri denied suggestions he lost control of the situation.
“The players played exactly the match that we prepared yesterday. So, I think that I am in full control of the situation,” he said.
The Italian, under intense pressure after heavy defeats including a 6-0 thrashing by Sunday’s opponents in the English Premier League this month, said his tactics worked on Sunday.
He had ordered his team to play deeper and stop Manchester City’s flowing style.
“We conceded nothing to the best team in Europe,” he added.(Reuters/NAN)