Kepa Arrizabalaga has attempted to explain the precise thinking behind his little substitution stunt at the end of the Carabao Cup final that has since whipped up an entirely predictable wave of consternation.
The Chelsea ‘keeper refused to be subbed off just seconds before the game went to penalties despite manager Maurizio Sarri preparing Willy Caballero to come on in his stead. This sparked a furious response from Sarri, who came very close to disappearing down the tunnel in a huff at one point.
As is the done thing nowadays, Kepa fired up the iPhone notes app after the game and did his best to diffuse the situation.
— kepa Arrizabalaga (@kepa_46) 24 February 2019
The Spanish ‘keeper’s auto-translated statement in full:
[I’m] upset and sad for not being able to take the title. We fought until the end against a great team. We continue working to be stronger.
I would also like to clarify some facts about today’s match…
First of all, I regret how the end of the match has been portrayed. At no time has it been my intention to disobey the coach or any of his decisions.
I think that everything has been misunderstood in the heat of the moment of the final part of a match for a title.
The coach thought I was not in a position to play on and my intention was to express that I was in good condition to continue helping the team, while the docs that had treated me arrived at the bench to give the message.
I feel the image that has been portrayed was not my intention. I have full respect for the coach and his authority.
A failure to communicate exacerbated by adrenaline, youthful inexperience (on Kepa’s side), mounting tension, fatigue and a language barrier or two. That’s about the long and short of it.
However, given the severity of the language being used in the press today – “mutiny”, “insubordination”, “disobedience”, etc, etc – you’d think that Kepa had been caught feeding classified military secrets to the axis powers.
On one hand I completely agree, but on the other IT WAS MUTINY AND KEPA DESERVES TO HANG BY THE FIRST LIGHT OF DAWN. https://t.co/U8S2wp8mtL
— Who Ate All The Pies (@waatpies) 25 February 2019
And to think, all this could have been easily avoided if Kepa hadn’t have attempted to feign injury twice in the space of two minutes, collapsing to the ground and flailing towards the physios like every bone in his lower body had spontaneously turned to a gummy liquid.