Chelsea boss, Maurizio Sarri has said he thought about keeping Kepa Arrizabalaga on the bench throughout the season before going back on that decision today against Fulham.
Kepa Arrizabalaga returned to action against the London club after the recent saga that saw him disobey his coach’s instruction to have him subbed.
Sarri’s words, “It was a normal decision [to bring him back], I think,” Sarri said. “Kepa made a big mistake. He paid for it with the club and the team. Now the situation is closed. There was only one other way: to put him out of the squad for the rest of the season. But Kepa is a man and understood, and reacted very well.
“I can kill him, but I think that [bringing him back] was right. I spoke with him during this week and he understood. His behaviour during the week was really very good. His reaction was really very good.”
Asked if he would have benched him till next season, he said, “Considering the man, no — because I know him very well.
“I am sure that it was only a misunderstanding at the beginning, a big mistake at the end of the situation. But, with another man, yes of course. I could have done it in another way. With him, I know him very well and know very well it wasn’t the right solution.
“I know very well the man. He is very clever, with a very good mentality. He made a mistake and [we had] a misunderstanding. Now is enough. But now I know very well that [Willy] Caballero is a very good goalkeeper and [an] important man for our group and our dressing room, so I have to find space for him.”
Another man who found a measure of redemption at Craven Cottage was Jorginho, who netted the game’s decisive goal — and his first for Chelsea since the opening day of the season — after this week pledging to win over the supporters who have criticised him.
“I’m very, very happy for him because he scored, but my opinion about Jorginho is the same,” Sarri added. “He’s a very great player, one of the most important in Europe in that position. Of course, for him, it’s not easy a first season in this football with a new team.
“He was really very tired in the last part of the match, and we were lucky that [Mateo] Kovacic could come on and do really very well. In that position, we have some problems. We are trying in training with Kovacic there. The answer from him was really very good.”
“We had a great opportunity, I think,” “Because we were five points from the top four, but now we are only two points off. It’s not easy. We have to fight until the last minute of the last match [against Tottenham]. We are fighting. In the last four matches, we did well.
“We won 3-0 in the Europa League. It was really very important for us, the [Carabao Cup] final, losing on penalties but, after the last match against City in Manchester when we lost 6-0, we played at the same level as them. That was very important for our confidence.
“Then we won against Tottenham and won [against Fulham]. I think that a minimum of consistency has arrived, but we have to continue.”
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