Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has played down the clash between himself and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in the club’s Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City.

With the game closing in on a penalty shoot-out, Arrizabalaga went down injured and looked unable to carry on. Sarri then prepared a substitution with Willy Cabellero set to replace him, but the Spaniard refused to leave the pitch after his number was shown.

What happened between Sarri and Arrizabalaga? Five key things to know…

  1. With the 2019 Carabao Cup final edging towards a penalty shoot-out, Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa went down injured.
  2. The Spaniard looked unable to play on, prompting Sarri to ready back-up goalkeeper Caballero for a substitution.
  3. But despite his number being shown on the fourth official’s board, Arrizabalaga refused to come off.
  4. Sarri looked angered on the touchline at the time of the incident, evening storming down the tunnel before returning.
  5. Despite this, the Italian has revealed it was purely a misunderstanding between the two.

Sarri looked furious on the touchline as Arrizabalaga appeared to defy his orders, staying on to keep goal for the shoot-out. The Spaniard managed to save Leroy Sane’s effort but let a meagre Sergio Aguero spot-kick squirm under his arm as City eventually won 4-3 on penalties.

Despite Chelsea’s impressive performance over the 120 minutes, potentially helped Sarri’s case of keeping his job, the post-match reaction was centred on Arrizabalaga’s moment of madness.

But Sarri has now played down the saga, claiming it was purely a misunderstanding.

“I think we have to talk about football because we played a very good match,” he told Sky Sports after the match.

“In that situation it was a misunderstanding, I heard there was a problem and we needed to change it. I realised the situation only when the doctor arrived on the bench after some minutes. It was a misunderstanding, I understood the goalkeeper had cramp and would be unable to go to the penalties.

“I needed only to return, to be quiet I think [on his near-walkout]. As I say, I asked for a change for this physical problem and hew said he hadn’t a physical problem. So he was right I think.”

Sarri then went on to reveal there would be no disciplinary action taken on Arrizabalaga, but he would be talking with the goalkeeper to clear up the situation.

He added: “I have to talk with [Arrizabalaga] but only to clarify because now I have understood very well the situation.”

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Chelsea next face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Wednesday as attention returns to the Blues’ race for fourth place.

Sutton: Kepa should never play for Chelsea again

Immediately after the incident, the football world went crazy with various opinions on the matter from fans and ex-pros alike. Former Chelsea forward Chris Sutton is never usually one to pull any punches in his analysis, and the Englishman was particularly scathing of Arrizabalaga.

“Kepa should never play for Chelsea again. that should be his last performance in a Chelsea shirt,” Sutton told the BBC.

“He’s a disgrace. I’ve never seen anything like it. If I was Sarri I would walk. You cannot be undermined. Why weren’t the players dragging Kepa off anyway?

“Kepa should be sacked, not Sarri.”

His sentiments were echoed by former Chelsea captain John Terry, who believes Arrizabalaga should have gone off when his number was shown on the fourth official’s board.

“Once your number goes up you have to come off and show a bit of respect,” he said on Sky Sports’ coverage of the match.

“Deal with that after. That’s the last thing the players want.

“It’s certainly not the end of it, it’s clouded a good performance. It’s taken the shine off a good performance, it’s disappointing. We’ll see what happens.”

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