Maurizio Sarri makes Kepa hint after London derby win

Jamie Woodhouse

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri hinted at a return for Kepa Arrizabalaga after he was benched for the Blues’ 2-0 win over Tottenham.

It proved to be the biggest talking point pre-match, when Sarri decided to bite the bullet and leave Arrizabalaga on the bench after his substitution refusal in the Carabao Cup final loss to Manchester City.

The game itself proved one which needed a spark, and that arrived early in the second-half courtesy of Pedro, as he signed off his weaving run with an impressive finish from the tight angle.

In-keeping with the game, little would happen from there, except the small matter for Kieran Trippier’s bizarre own-goal to make it 2-0 to the Blues.

Willy Caballero came into the side and kept a clean sheet, but post-match questions aimed at Sarri unsurprisingly focused on the future of Arrizabalaga.

“It was really very easy because Kepa made a big mistake and then paid with the club,” Sarri told BBC Match of the Day.

“In this match he has to pay for the team. It was only a message for all the team, the dressing room, we are a team – not 25 individuals.

“Now we stop the question, it is behind us and in the future Kepa will be with us.”

The result may have potentially ended Spurs’ hopes of winning the Premier League for another year, and Sarri was happy to see his side get the result he felt they deserved following the cup final defeat.

“The performance was in line with the last one and fortunately the result was different – but the performance was very similar to the one against Man City,” he explained to BT Sport.

“Pedro is a very important player for us, he is very dangerous, he scored and he’s very useful also in the defensive phase to balance the team.

“Caballero is a good goalkeeper with great experience and he’s a great man for us, he’s very confident on the pitch and in the dressing room.

“We need consistency, we played very well in the final, it was disappointing the result but we were confident because it was a high-level performance.”

Sarri also shook off questions of his relationship with the Chelsea squad being under threat.

“I was sure before the match. I was sure my relationship with my players is really very good and in the last month better,” said Sarri.


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