Kepa clears the air amid Sarri’s row

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The goalkeeper says he wasn’t trying to undermine his manager in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final. Kepa Arrizabalaga has come out to explain his on-pitch row with Maurizio Sarri in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City, which threatened to overshadow Chelsea’s penalty shootout defeat to Pep Guardiola’s side. The £71 million summer signing was involved in the incident at the end of extra time, where Willy Caballero was set to come on after Arrizabalaga went down injured with cramp.

Sarri has described the incident as a “misunderstanding” in his post-match press conference but he was seen to be seething on the final whistle and he had to be held back Antonio Rudiger at Wembley Stadium, when confronting his goalkeeper. Arrizabalaga moved to assure fans that he maintains a good relationship with his manager and addressed the incident after the match.

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“I don’t know how it went out, it is not the best image,” Arrizabalaga told reporters after the match. 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. It was in tense moments, with a lot happening

“Of course I did [see my number go up on the digital board]. But because of that, it was until the medics had got back to the bench to explain I was fine, that I could continue. It wasn’t that I was refusing to be substituted, it was a way of trying to tell the bench that I was fine. I think it was just misunderstood, and unfortunate, because now people are talking about this… I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know what to say, other than to say it was not my intention in any moment (top refuse).

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“It has to be understood, too, that these were the last few minutes of a final, and I didn’t realise the reactions. It was only when I say they were going to change, I tried to say I was fine. It was the final minute, with a lot going on. I know the image it’s given, but I never intended to refuse to go off. It was only to say I was fine.

“I don’t think it has to be the major act of this final. I understand we played a good level against one of the best teams in the world. We were close to winning, obviously we’re sad that we didn’t, and I think the team needs to continue playing like this, because today we’ve shown we can compete against the best teams. Among the negatives, we have to take the positives.”

Sarri won’t drop Arrizabalaga for the game against Tottenham and it is likely that the incident will be put to bed as quickly as possible. Arrizabalaga was keen to draw attention to what was a good display, despite Chelsea’s defeat on penalties to the Premier League champions.

“Well, I think we competed well, against a great team, we were close, the luck of the penalties was we couldn’t win and I think the team competed well,” he added.

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