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'The players are with him' - Luiz offers Sarri support after Kepa 'misunderstanding'

1:00 PM GMT+4 25/02/2019
Maurizio Sarri David Luiz Chelsea Carabao Cup final 2019
The Chelsea defender had been keen to reward his manager with a first trophy, but missed a penalty in the Carabao Cup final defeat by Manchester City

David Luiz insists the Chelsea players support Maurizio Sarri and revealed he was heartbroken at his own penalty miss against Manchester City as he wanted to win the Carabao Cup for his under-fire manager.

Jorginho and Luiz both missed penalties that saw Pep Guardiola's side win 4-3 in the shootout after the Blues put in an impressive performance for 120 minutes at Wembley.

Under Antonio Conte last season, Luiz was dropped and did not kick a ball between February and the end of the season, but Sarri has revitalised the 31-year-old's career.

Luiz has a positive relationship with Sarri, whose long-term future at the club is increasingly in doubt, and the Brazilian was upset to not deliver his boss a first trophy.

"I love the way he plays, the way he is as a man," Luiz said at Wembley Stadium. "He is a fantastic person so, of course, the players are with him. For me, it was more difficult to miss the penalty that didn’t get him the trophy than it was for me. I wish I had given that to Sarri.

"My penalty touched the post and came out. Sterling’s hit the bar and went in. Aguero’s [squeezed in]. Sometimes the luck is not on your side. I think we did a great game and you have to be intelligent in life to take the positive sides, positive things and learn from it.

"The coach has the power over the group. He has our respect. People can think in a negative way or a positive way. It is about our lives, it is always like that. People are negative, people are positive, people are happy, they are sad.

"For me, there is not a problem here for that. We all believe in his philosophy, we all believe in the way he wants us to play. That’s why we did a great game against the best team in Europe at the moment. Apart from that, it was a misunderstanding and we all want to do what is best for Chelsea."

Sarri still faces a battle to achieve his goals of getting Chelsea back into the Champions League after a poor run of form over the winter period dampened the mood at Stamford Bridge.

There are doubts over Sarri's control of the dressing room and Kepa Arrizabalaga's refusal to be substituted was a bad look for all around the west London club. However, the £71 million signing from Athletic Club has since explained the situation that sent Sarri into a rage was a 'misunderstanding.'

Luiz went over to speak with the keeper as the unique incident stole the headlines on Sunday evening and the Brazil international came to the defence of Arrizabalaga's character after the match.

"It was more of a misunderstanding because it is never easy for us to listen from afar," he added. "I didn’t know if the coach wanted to make the change because it was his decision or because he’d [Kepa] already been on the floor twice.

"Kepa was saying, ‘No, I’m good, I can stay on the pitch’, but from far you can’t understand. You have the fans too, they start to boo [so it’s hard to hear].

"We saw that. I’m sure if Kepa knew the coach wished to change him because it was his decision, he would have come off because he is a great professional, he is a great boy and would respect that.

"But I think he just didn’t know if the coach was changing him because he was on the floor twice or if he wanted to change him because it was his decision."

Next up, Chelsea face Tottenham in the Premier League on Wednesday after three successive cup games and Luiz is hopeful that his side can once again put in a good performance against a top-six rival.

"During the season we had some great performances like the one at Wembley, but our problem has been not being consistent," he concluded. "We have to learn from that and be consistent. We have another important game to play against Tottenham on Wednesday.

"It's another big, big game and we have to play like we did against Man City. We have the quality for that, the players for that and the manager for that. It is up to us."