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Sarri’s Kepa claims ‘a political answer’ amid ‘crazy’ lack of respect at Chelsea - Gullit

12:40 PM GMT+4 25/02/2019
Kepa Arrizabalaga Chelsea 2018-19
The Blues saw their goalkeeper refuse to go off during the Carabao Cup final, with a former boss refusing to buy the excuses offered up afterwards

Kepa Arrizabalaga has undermined manager Maurizio Sarri by refusing to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final, says Ruud Gullit, with talk of a misunderstanding merely “a political answer” to a problematic situation.

Chaotic scenes at Wembley Stadium saw the Blues goalkeeper summoned from the field after requiring treatment in extra-time.

Willy Caballero was readied to come on a matter of minutes before a goalless clash with his former club, Manchester City, headed into a penalty shootout.

Kepa, though, ignored the calls of those on the touchline and stubbornly stayed on the field, before going on to concede four times from the spot as City collected the first major silverware of the season.

The Spaniard’s actions sparked bemusement among many, while there have been calls for the world’s most expensive goalkeeper to be sacked or dropped indefinitely over his act of defiance.

Both Kepa and Sarri attempted to play the spat down in the wake of a frustrating afternoon for Chelsea, but former Blues boss Gullit is not buying the excuses offered up in public.

He told BBC Sport: “The captain [Cesar Azpilicueta] should have gone up to him and said ‘go off’.

“This is just a political answer for the newspapers so there is no confusion the next day. Everybody knows what happened. The way he [Sarri] reacted on the touchline says everything.”

Sarri was clearly angered by Kepa’s actions at the time and set off down the tunnel at one stage after seeing his authority undermined.

He did return to the bench but the damage had already been done.

Gullit added: “I think he wanted to take him off because he wanted a goalkeeper who knows the players of Manchester City.

“I think the goalkeeper, because he was injured, feels they wanted to substitute him because of his injury. That’s why he goes ‘no, no I’m fine’.

“In that moment I don’t know if someone came to him and said ‘look, there is a reason for this’. But he refused to go off and I think that undermines the manager and his authority.”

Asked how he would have reacted to such a situation, the former Netherlands international said: “You would go crazy.

“After a while he had to accept the fact that he didn’t want to go off. That was crazy.

“He had to stay there and say you have to come off now.”

Chelsea are due back in action on Wednesday when they play host to London rivals Tottenham and it remains to be seen whether Kepa will once again be selected to operate between the sticks.