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'Now the situation is closed' - Sarri keen to draw line under Kepa saga following Chelsea recall

19:59 SAST 2019/03/03
Kepa Chelsea Fulham
The Spaniard was restored after being dropped following his Carabao Cup antics and his manager considers the matter concluded in regards to sanctions

Maurizio Sarri has revealed that the situation with goalkeeper Kepa is “closed” after the Chelsea No.1 returned to the starting line-up for their 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday.

The Spaniard and his manager were at the centre of an extraordinary argument during the closing moments of extra-time in the Carabao Cup final last month that saw the shotstopper refuse to be substituted ahead of a penalty shoot-out.

Chelsea went on to lose the game to Manchester City on spot-kicks and Kepa was subsequently dropped for Willy Caballero, who featured for the Blues in their derby victory over Tottenham.

Kepa however was restored to his place for the clash with the Cottagers and Sarri has now spoken of seeing the matter as finished for him personally.

“It was a normal decision, I think,” the Italian responded when asked about his choice to bring the 24-year-old back into the equation. “Kepa made a big mistake. He paid for it with the club and the team.

“Now the situation is closed. There was only one other way: to put him out of the squad for the rest of the season. But Kepa is a man and understood and reacted very well today.”

Sarri admitted that he could have elected to have taken that latter route of freezing the ex-Athletic Bilbao man out of proceedings, but admitted he did not wish to punish the player further.

“I can kill him, but I think that was right,” he added. “I spoke with him during this week and he understood.

“His behaviour during the week was really very good. His reaction today was really very good. I know very well the man.

“He is very clever, with a very good mentality. He made a mistake and a misunderstanding. Now is enough.

“I could have done it in another way. With him, I know him very well and know very well it wasn't the right solution [to omit him].

“But now I know very well that Caballero is a very good goalkeeper and important man for our group and our dressing-room, so I have to find space for him.”