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'It wasn’t my intention to go against the manager,' says Kepa after refusing to be subbed

‘It is not the best image,’ admits the Chelsea goalkeeper.

Kepa's number goes up, before the substitution got waved off.
Kepa's number goes up, before the substitution got waved off.

CHELSEA KEEPER KEPA Arrizabalaga has come out to explain his on-pitch row with Maurizio Sarri in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City, which overshadowed the penalty shoot-out defeat to Pep Guardiola’s side.

The £71 million summer signing was involved in the incident at the end of extra time, where Willy Caballero was set to come on after Arrizabalaga went down injured with cramp.

Sarri has described the incident as a “misunderstanding” in his post-match press conference but he was seen to be seething on the final whistle and he had to be held back Antonio Rudiger at Wembley Stadium, after his goalkeeper turned his back on him when the squad gathered before the penalty shoot-out.

Arrizabalaga moved to assure fans that he maintains a good relationship with his manager and addressed the incident after the match.

“I don’t know how it went out, it is not the best image,” Arrizabalaga told reporters after the match. “I have spoken with the boss. I think it was misunderstood.

“I understand that on television, on social media, they’re talking about this but I am here to explain it, to say that it wasn’t my intention to go against the manager.

We have spoken now, and I was only trying to say I’m fine. He thought I wasn’t fine. It was in tense moments, with a lot happening.

“Of course I did [see my number go up on the digital board]. But because of that, it was (not) until the medics had got back to the bench to explain I was fine, that I could continue. It wasn’t that I was refusing to be substituted, it was a way of trying to tell the bench that I was fine.

“I think it was just misunderstood, and unfortunate, because now people are talking about this… I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know what to say, other than to say it was not my intention in any moment [to refuse].

“It has to be understood, too, that these were the last few minutes of a final, and I didn’t realise the reactions. It was only when I say they were going to change, I tried to say I was fine. It was the final minute, with a lot going on. I know the image it’s given, but I never intended to refuse to go off. It was only to say I was fine.”

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