Sarri undecided on Kepa role for Spurs showdown

first_imgChelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri is yet to decide whether Kepa Arrizabalaga will start in goal in Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Tottenham after his refusal to be substituted in Sunday’s League Cup final.Kepa refused to be go off against Manchester City and was on Monday fined one week’s wages for the incident which angered Sarri.“I have to decide, maybe yes, maybe not,” said Sarri, when asked if Kepa would feature.“It will be a decision for the group. For all the players.”The Chelsea hierarchy took the decision to fine Kepa, Sarri revealed.The 60-year-old added: “I spoke with the goalkeeper, with Kepa, of course. Then we spoke altogether, because he said sorry to the technical staff, but it was not enough.“Then he said sorry to his team-mates, to the club. I think he made a big mistake, but we need to be taller. We don’t want to kill him. So there is a position from the club.”Sarri initially interrupted questions on Kepa, insisting not everyone was interested, saying: “Everybody? No. In my family, no.”Sarri does not believe the incident undermined his authority.He added: “No, because after yesterday for me the situation is finished. He is a young player, he made a mistake, but stop.“I am sure he understood he made a really big mistake. For me it’s finished.”Sarri believes the performance at Wembley showed he has his players’ backing, with the incident after the game strengthening his resolve.The Italian added: “Did you see the match on Sunday? So you have the answer.“After the game is the same. I think better.”Asked if he felt the support of the players was now greater, Sarri said: “Yes.”Sarri had taken the decision to replace Kepa due to fitness concerns, coupled with Willy Caballero’s history with Manchester City. The former City player saved three penalties in their 2016 League Cup shootout win over Liverpool.The Blues boss’ position remains precarious ahead of the first Premier League game since the 6-0 loss at Manchester City on February 10.Sarri added: “I am not under pressure. For me the pressure is a normal pressure.”Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino meanwhile says will accept the English Football Association’s improper conduct charge for confronting the referee after Saturday’s shock 2-1 Premier League defeat by Burnley, the Argentine said on Tuesday.The loss dealt a blow to third-placed Tottenham’s title hopes and Pochettino appeared to vent his frustration at referee Mike Dean in a furious exchange, but the 46-year-old apologised to the official ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Chelsea.“I will accept that charge. Watching my behaviour afterwards on video, I need to accept the charge from the FA,” Pochettino told a news conference.“I need to apologise to Mike Dean, I can’t behave that way. It’s not the way to behave and I’m going to accept the charge.“My behaviour was public and now I want to apologise in a public way. I need to apologise to him and all the officials.”Pochettino, who faces the prospect of a fine or a touchline ban, would not reveal what Dean said to him which appeared to provoke the reaction.“All that happened on the pitch stays on there. I think that is the most important, we need to accept that we are with our emotion,” Pochettino added.“It’s not important, I don’t take it personally. When your heart rate is so high you need to be careful how you take words. All that happened on the pitch, I’ll never translate off it.”Midfielders Dele Alli (hamstring) and Eric Dier (tonsillitis) will miss the match at Stamford Bridge.last_img read more