Kepa Arrizabalaga still Chelsea's No 1, insists Maurizio Sarri

Kepa Arrizabalaga still Chelsea's No 1, insists Maurizio Sarri
Source: Skysports
Date: 28-02-2019 Time: 09:02:27:am
Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted

Maurizio Sarri says Kepa Arrizabalaga has "paid to the team" after he was dropped for Chelsea's 2-0 win over Tottenham, but insists he is still his No 1 goalkeeper.

Arrizabalaga was left on the bench after his show of dissent to the manager during Sunday's Carabao Cup final defeat against Manchester City, where he refused to be subbed off, with Willy Caballero taking his place on Wednesday.

The Spaniard was fined a week's wages, and now Sarri says he has paid further for the incident in being left on the bench.

Though he could not say if Arrizabalaga would be back for Sunday's game with Fulham, Sarri insists the summer signing is still first choice, and will play one of the next two games, with Dynamo Kiev at Stamford Bridge next Thursday in the Europa League.

Asked if he is still No 1 at Chelsea, Sarri said: "Of course."

He added: "I think it was the right decision, Kepa made a big mistake, he paid with the club, and then he had to pay with the team.

"But now I have to think we have to stop, Kepa from tomorrow will be with us. He is back in the team for the weekend, I don't know in the next match if he will be on the pitch or not, but one of the next two he will [start].

"When you are young I think you can make mistakes, and the most important thing is that you need to understand very well after every mistake. For me, now the best thing is to close it."

Asked if his decision was behind Chelsea's improved performance on Wednesday, Sarri was adamant it was similar to Sunday's showing at Wembley, and praised his side's aggression.

Highlights of Chelsea's win over Tottenham in the Premier League

"No, I don't think it was [related to dropping Kepa]. The performance in this match was really very good, but it was in line with the last one. The result was different, but the kind of performance is similar.

"We hope [it is the turning point], but it is most important to think we need a consistency in performances, in results, and as you know very well in this championship it is not easy.

"It is not easy to have consistency of results, but now we need points. It was really very important tonight. Maybe with this result we could involve Tottenham in this fight, because the gap is very large, seven points, but we have to play one match [in hand]."

Pedro's strike and an embarrassing Kieran Trippier own goal gave Chelsea three points, leaving them firmly in the hunt for the top four.

It has eased the heat on Sarri somewhat, and the Italian revealed he had spoken to the club several times recently, and does not believe his job was under as much pressure as the media had suggested.

"I spoke to the club two or three times in the last days, but the problem wasn't so big as you write. I don't know, maybe it wasn't true, I don't know, but it's not a big problem for me, because in this job you are under pressure every week. I think it is normal for every coach."