We don’t want to kill Kepa but I haven’t decided if he will start – Sarri

‘We don’t want to kill Kepa’ – Sarri

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri says he does not want “to kill” goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, but has not yet decided if the Spaniard will start against Tottenham on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old has apologised and was fined a week’s wages for refusing to be substituted during Sunday’s Carabao Cup final defeat by Manchester City.

“I have to decide [if he will play], maybe yes, maybe not,” Sarri said.

“He made a really big mistake. For me it’s finished.”

The Italian added: “I spoke with Kepa. Then we spoke altogether, because he said sorry to the technical staff, but it was not enough.

“Then he said sorry to his team-mates, to the club. I think he made a big mistake, but we need to be [bigger]. We don’t want to kill him.”

Asked if Kepa not starting against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge would be a punishment or a tactical decision, the 60-year-old said: “It will be a decision for the [good of the] group. For all the players.

“He [Kepa] has to [be mentally ready to play]. He made a mistake. A big mistake. There are some consequences. If the consequence is to play, he has to be ready to play. If the consequence is the bench, he has to be ready to go to the bench.”

Kepa, the Chelsea club record £71m signing, defied Sarri’s attempt to substitute him for Willy Caballero before City won on penalties.

The Italian appeared furious and walked down the tunnel before quickly returning and after the match said the incident had been “a misunderstanding”.

Asked if he was disappointed some other players did not take control of the situation, Sarri said: “It was really a very unusual situation, so I think the players were really very shocked. It was impossible to react immediately.

Captain Cesar Azpilicueta was criticised for not intervening in the situation at Wembley and Sarri said: “The captain spoke to me immediately after the match. Then he spoke with Kepa. Yesterday we spoke all together. The situation is really very clear in the dressing room.”

Asked if he had the respect of the players, Sarri replied: “Did you see the match on Sunday? So you have the answer. After the game is the same. No, I think better.”

Sarri says the incident had not affected his relationship with the players and asked if they respect him more now, he replied: “yes”.

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