The 26-year-old Spanish goalkeeper said what happened in the final which was between Chelsea and Manchester City was a misunderstanding between him and coach Sarri.
During the Carabao Cup final, Kepa Arrizabalaga went down in the extra time with what looked like a cramp injury. Minutes after he had stood up to continue with the game, coach Sarri decided to substitute him in less than five minutes before the end of the extra time.
His substitute, Willy Caballero was already standing by the touchline and the 4th official has already lifted the substitution board, but Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to come out.
The coach had to leave the bench to the touchline to urge him to leave the pitch, the Spanish goalkeeper who cost Chelsea £71 million transfer fee, continued to insist that he was fine to continue with the game.
As that was going on, the 80,000 spectators at the Wembley Stadium made a lot of noise as if they were calling for an end to the back and forth between the coach and the goalkeeper. But the coach’s effort and the noise of the spectators could not force Kepa out of the pitch. After several minutes, the coach gave up and allowed him to continue with the game.
Then, the belief was that coach Sarri decided to substitute him for Caballero because the Brazilian goalkeeper was better when it comes to handling shootouts.
Unfortunately for coach Sarri, Chelsea, and Kepa Arrizabalaga, the game ended in a penalty shootout, and Chelsea lost the shootout 4-3. Even though Kepa saved one of the penalty kicks, most Chelsea fans found it difficult to forgive him after the Carabao final.
In an interview with The Players’ Tribune, Kepa said he did not mean to disrespect Sarri. He went on to apologize to the coach and his teammate, Caballero.
Kepa said: “I tried to signal that I was OK, that I wasn’t injured. But we were at Wembley in front of more than 80,000 people, so of course, Sarri didn’t understand me.
“When the fourth official raised the board, clearly I should have come off, and I’m sorry I didn’t.
“I was wrong, and I am sorry for everyone who was involved: for Maurizio Sarri, who it seemed like I had undermined in public; for Willy (Caballero), a teammate and a great professional; and for all my teammates and Chelsea fans who had to put up with everything – all the noise that was generated during the game and then in the days after…
“For the next three or four days it didn’t stop,” Kepa added. “It was overwhelming. And clearly, most people who saw the pictures thought that I had disrespected Maurizio (Sarri).
“I felt misunderstood because it had never been my intention to snub the coach. I had only tried to tell him I was I tried to explain this to the press, but I couldn’t.”
Though Sarri left Chelsea at the end of the 2018-2019 season for Juventus, Kepa Arrizabalaga remains the second fiddle to the club’s new signing Edouard Mendy. His contract with Chelsea will expire on June 30, 2025.
👏 – Maurizio Sarri discusses the incident involving him and Kepa Arrizabalaga in today's @Carabao_Cup final.— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) February 24, 2019
A classy response after being undermined by a player, but where do @ChelseaFC go from here?
Follow Manchester City's Carabao Cup win here: https://t.co/AjdJuU1txa pic.twitter.com/9G178C7G3H