Maurizio Sarri insisted that Kepa Arrizabalaga will remain Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper despite dropping the Spaniard to the bench for Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Tottenham.
Willy Caballero was handed his first Premier League start of the season by Sarri at the expense of Kepa, who was fined one week’s wages by Chelsea on Tuesday for refusing to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.
Chelsea vindicated Sarri’s decision by keeping a clean sheet against Spurs, who failed to even register a shot on target against Caballero. But after the match, the Italian revealed there will be no lasting ramifications for his £71.5 million goalkeeper.
“I think it was the right decision,” said Sarri, who added that Kepa found out the news during Chelsea’s team meeting ahead of the game. “Kepa made a big mistake. He paid with the club. Then he had to pay with the team. But now I think we have to stop. Kepa, from tomorrow, will be with us.
“I don’t know if he will be on the pitch in the next match [against Fulham] or not, but in one of the next two, for sure. We cannot kill him. When you are young, I think you can make mistakes. The most important thing is that you need to understand very well, after every mistake. So now, for me, the issue is closed.”
Asked if Kepa remains his No.1 goalkeeper, Sarri replied: “Of course.”