Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has claimed that he and his teammates accepted the apology of Kepa Arrizabalaga for refusing to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City last month.
After appearing to be injured, Blues boss Maurizio Sarri tried to bring on backup stopper Willy Caballero to replace him for the subsequent penalty shootout, but Kepa adamantly refused to leave the field, sending his manager into a fit of rage. The Spaniard was subsequently dropped for Chelsea next match, but returned to the lineup to face Fulham last Sunday.
Speaking after his side's 2-1 win over the Cottagers, via Sky Sports, Loftus-Cheek was probed about the squad's reaction to Kepa's behaviour, and responded: "The boss obviously wanted to show he demands respect from his players and he obviously put in Willy (Caballero) for the Tottenham games.
"Kepa was honest with us and he apologised to all of us the day after the final and we all accepted that apology. I think there was a misunderstanding involved in it but he apologised to us and we accepted it. I think it's very important to move on quickly from that."
Certainly, Kepa's rash moment of insubordination appears to be water under the bridge (if you'll pardon the pun), and his manager will have been delighted with his performance against Fulham on Sunday. The club's record signing pulled off a string of acrobatic saves to keep his side on top, and thwarted Aleksandar Mitrović with a particularly eye-catching stop.
Despite their disappointing Carabao Cup loss, Chelsea have won their last two matches on the bounce, and will be in fine spirits heading into the final run of matches this season.
Sarri's side still have an excellent chance of securing a top four finish, and could qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League should they fail to do so.