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'Kepa should remain behind Caballero at Chelsea' - Sarri's Sir Alex Ferguson-esque call supported by Cole

5:08 PM SGT 28/2/19
Kepa Arrizabalaga Chelsea 2018-19
The Blues made a change between the sticks for the meeting with Tottenham, with their Spanish shot-stopper paying the price for an act of defiance

Chelsea should stick with Willy Caballero ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga, says Joe Cole, with Maurizio Sarri hailed for making a Sir Alex Ferguson-esque call and dropping a goalkeeper who defied his wishes in the Carabao Cup final.

The Blues saw their Spanish shot-stopper refuse to be substituted during a meeting with Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.

An unfortunate episode was written off inside Stamford Bridge as a “misunderstanding”, but Kepa was fined over his actions and dropped to the bench for a Premier League meeting with Tottenham.

Caballero kept a clean sheet in that contest, as Chelsea prevailed 2-0 in the London derby, and a starting berth may now be the Argentine’s to lose despite claims from Sarri that the most expensive keeper in world football remains his No.1.

Former Blues star Cole told BT Sport: “I think the manager’s in such a strong position.

“He made the right decision, the points are in the pocket. I think he leaves him in.

“And by the way he’s a full international, he’s a very good goalkeeper. He’s played for Manchester City, he’s played for big clubs, he won’t let you down.

“Sometimes the goalkeepers, you might say he’s not had much to do. By the way, he would have marshalled that defence, with his experience, telling them where to go.

“Chelsea looked solid and the players in front of him looked like they were organised. They were outstanding defensively.”

Cole also praised the bravery of Sarri in pulling a big-money addition out of the Chelsea side while being fully aware that such a decision could backfire and generate plenty of unwelcome discussion.

“I think it’s easy for someone like Alex Ferguson, who had them years of dominance and stature at the club, to do things like that,” added a man who is now part of the Blues’ academy coaching system.

“I think for a Chelsea manager to things like that, there’s other factors to it.

“We’ve seen the history where the club have changed managers quite regularly. So it’s more of a gamble [at Chelsea].

“If Alex Ferguson at Man United does that, everything’s going in that direction and that’s that.

“But at this club things can change very quickly.

“You can’t criticise the board for that as well because they’ve won things and they’ve been successful.

“He’s deliberated it a lot and he knows if it goes wrong, it’s going to come on him. But I applaud him for his bravery and I think it’s the right thing.”

Chelsea, with either Kepa or Caballero between the sticks, have another derby date to take in on Sunday when they make the short trip to west London neighbours Fulham.