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Sarri undecided on Kepa return after dropping Chelsea goalkeeper

2:00 am AEDT 2/3/19
Kepa Arrizabalaga Chelsea 2018-19
The Blues boss has insisted the Spaniard will be recalled either against Fulham or Dynamo Kiev, but it is yet to make a final call

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri insists that he is yet to make a decision on whether Kepa Arrizabalaga will be recalled for his side's clash with Fulham.

Towards the end of extra-time in the Blues's Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City, Kepa went to ground seemingly injured on two occasions, with Chelsea subsequently attempting to replace him with Willy Caballero.

But Kepa refused to leave the pitch in what Sarri later claimed was a "misunderstanding" , his punishment being a fine and a place on the bench for Wednesday's 2-0 win over Tottenham .

Sarri is yet to decide which of the two goalkeepers will start for Sunday's trip to Craven Cottage, but Kepa can expect to be back between the posts against Dynamo Kyiv in the Europa League on Thursday if he does not feature against Scott Parker's struggling side.

"As I said in the press conference after the [Tottenham] match, the Kepa situation is closed," Sarri told reporters.

"Kepa is our first goalkeeper, but we are very happy for Willy that he can play in a very difficult match.

"Kepa will be on the pitch for one of the next two matches. I have not decided yet, I want to see the last two trainings of course, for every player.

"On Sunday we played 120 minutes and 95 minutes on Wednesday. We ran for 15km on Sunday on average and Wednesday was 12km, so we have to consider it."

Gonzalo Higuain has had a slow start to life at Chelsea, scoring just two goals – a brace against rock-bottom Huddersfield Town – in seven appearances across all competitions.

And though Sarri has put Higuain's lack of goals down to not being completely match sharp, he thinks his performance against Spurs showed promise.

"I think the contribution was very good in the last match," Sarri said of the Argentinian striker.

"He played with his team-mates very well. I think he now needs more acceleration, because he is a little more resistant.

"He needs to improve in the physical condition, then he will improve and score."

Chelsea will be going up against a Fulham side under new management, as former Blues midfielder Parker has been placed in temporary charge following the dismissal of Sarri's Italian compatriot Claudio Ranieri .

Sarri does not think Ranieri will be away for long, however.

"I am really very sorry [that Ranieri lost his job], but I know very well his character, so I know we will see him very soon in another club," he said.

"He's very strong and I think in a few days he will be able to think to the next situation, to the future.

"Usually when there is a change of the coach there is a reaction, and so we have to expect the reaction. It's very difficult to prepare the match because we don't know the new system, new ideas. It's a very difficult match I think."