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Photo: Reuters

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga caused huge controversy at Wembley by refusing to be substituted for Willy Caballero in the second half of extra time with the game set to go to penalties.

Chelsea and Manchester City had played a good game that entertained both sets of fans and even the neutral supporters, but Kepa’s actions seemed to have clouded Chelsea’s performance, with all post match interviews seeming to concentrate on the action of the Chelsea goalkeeper.

Maurizio Sarri was left frustrated when Kepa refused to come off the pitch, and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho revealed he was sad with the incident but hails Kepa as a confident goalkeeper who’s keen on showing his personality.

“I don’t like that he leaves his coach and the assistant coach in a situation of great fragility,” Mourinho told DAZN.

“Luckily, I never had to go through this. The goalkeeper wants to show his personality, his confidence, wants to show that he is there and wants to be at the shootout and make saves, and I like that.”

Arrizabalaga has come out to defend his actions and also explained his on-pitch row with Maurizio Sarri in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City, insisting that he wasn’t trying to disobey the manager.

“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 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.

“I don’t think it has to be the major act of this final. I understand we played a good level against one of the best teams in the world. We were close to winning, obviously we’re sad that we didn’t, and I think the team needs to continue playing like this, because today we’ve shown we can compete against the best teams. Among the negatives, we have to take the positives.”

About the Author

Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.