Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has addressed his decision to not leave the field during extra time in the Carabao Cup Final against Manchester City on Sunday, despite his manager making the decision to substitute him.
After the Spaniard went down twice with an apparent injury, Blues boss Maurizio Sarri sprang into action, and attempted to bring on backup stopper Willy Cabellero. However, an animated Kepa refused to leave the field on several occasions, which sent his manager into a spiral of rage, before the substitution was cancelled.
The game ended 0-0, and Chelsea went on to lose the subsequent penalty shootout, with Kepa managing to save just one of the City spot kicks.
Speaking to Chelsea's official website, Kepa claimed the incident was a matter of crossed wires: "First of all, I have to say it was misunderstood. In no moment was it my intention to disobey, or anything like that with the boss. Just that it was misunderstood, because I had been attended to by the medics twice, and he thought that I wasn’t in condition to continue.
"It was two or three minutes of confusion until the medics got to the bench, and they explained everything well. This was nothing to do with the problems I had this week, with [hamstring] it wasn’t that. And, well, it was misunderstood. Because he thought I couldn’t continue, and - fundamentally - I was trying to say that physically I was fine."
The former Athletic Bilbao man continued: "I know if you see it from outside, I don’t know how it went out, it is not the best image. I have spoken with the boss. I think it was misunderstood. I understand that on television, on social media, they’re talking about this but I am here to explain it, to say that it wasn’t my intention to go against the manager.
"We have spoken now, and I was only trying to say I’m fine. He thought I wasn’t fine."
Meanwhile, despite his explosion reaction, Sarri has also played down the incident, and made a similar statement claiming that it was a mere misunderstanding, as oppose to a case of clear subordination from the club's record signing. The Blues play Spurs in the Premier League on Wednesday, and it will be fascinating to see whether Kepa keeps his place as Chelsea keeper.