David Luiz insists Maurizio Sarri has the respect of the Chelsea players despite Kepa fallout

David Luiz reportedly told Kepa to respect the decision of the coach as he refused to be substituted (Getty Images)

David Luiz is adamant that Maurizio Sarri commands the respect of the Chelsea dressing room in the wake of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s refusal to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.

Kepa, who became the most expensive goalkeeper ever when he joined Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao for £71m last summer, twice went down injured during Chelsea’s eventual defeat to Manchester City at Wembley.

The Spanish goalkeeper had been a doubt to feature at all due to a hamstring problem and after he went down in injury time at the end of extra-time, his understudy Willy Caballero was summoned from the bench to take his place.

However, the Chelsea No.1 refused to leave the pitch sparking a furious response from Sarri on the sidelines. City went on to win 4-3 on penalties with Kepa allowing a tame Sergio Aguero penalty to squirm underneath him before saving from Leroy Sane.

Kepa’s actions have been widely condemned but Luiz insisted it was a misunderstanding and praised the 24-year-old for being a ‘great professional’.

Maurizio Sarri was furious with Kepa’s actions (Getty Images)

‘The coach has the power over the group. He has our respect,’ Luiz insisted after the game. ‘People can think in a negative way or a positive way. It is about our lives, it is always like that. People are negative, people are positive, people are happy, they are sad. For me there is not a problem here for that.

‘We all believe in his philosophy, we all believe in the way he wants us to play. That’s why we did a great game against the best team in Europe at the moment. Apart from that, it was a misunderstanding and we all want to do what is best for Chelsea.

‘It is never easy for us to listen from afar. I didn’t know if the coach wanted to make the change because it was his decision or because he [Kepa] had already been on the floor twice. Kepa was saying ‘No, I’m good, I can stay on the pitch’, but from far you can’t understand. You have the fans too, they start to boo.

‘I’m sure if Kepa knew the coach wished to change him because it was his decision, he would have come off because he is a great professional, he is a great boy and would respect that.

‘But I think he just didn’t know if the coach was changing him because he was on the floor twice or if he wanted to change him because it was his decision.’

At one stage it looked as if Sarri was about to walk down the tunnel such was his disgust at Kepa’s actions yet in his post-match press conference he claimed the whole situation was a ‘misunderstanding’ between him and his goalkeeper.

Chelsea are next in action against Spurs at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.


READ  11pm Man Utd news LIVE: Saudi takeover LATEST, Lingard to Atletico, King for £30m, Ighalo ‘not fit for a MONTH’


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here