Maurizio Sarri had planned to change goalkeepers from the outset in the eventuality of a penalty shootout between Chelsea and Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final - though he did not tell Kepa Arrizabalaga beforehand.
Chelsea's plucky display to stifle Manchester City at Wembley and force the game into extra time and penalties was overshadowed by the row between Sarri and Kepa, as the Spaniard refused to be replaced by Willy Caballero ahead of the shootout.
Maurizio Sarri believes what happened at Wembley last Sunday has had a galvanising effect on him, his staff and the players... — Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 2, 2019
The incident appeared to be a misunderstanding between the pair, with the goalkeeper having seemingly suffered an injury during extra time, before refusing to be withdrawn from the game. However, according to the Mirror, the substitution had been planned by Sarri all along.
It is said that Sarri had been convinced by his supporting coaching staff that Caballero was the right man to call upon in the event that the game went to penalties, given the Argentine's impressive record in stopping penalties.
However, Kepa was apparently not made aware of Sarri's plan before the game, and that led to his refusal to be taken off just before the shootout, with the Spaniard insisting that he only had cramp and was not injured.
- Have you EVER seen anything like it!?— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) February 24, 2019
Maurizio Sarri tries to substitute Kepa Arrizabalaga for Willy Caballero, but Kepa refuses to come off and Sarri is absolutely FURIOUS! pic.twitter.com/Q81v6ry3Kk
It means that the incident was a misunderstanding of a different kind to that which had previously been assumed - one which was more a result of a lack of communication than a complete misunderstanding of the situation.
However, Sarri has since played down the incident, despite his clear anger at his goalkeeper's disobedience at the time, and insisted that the events were merely down to a misunderstanding, opting to avoid questions over whether the substitution was planned earlier.
The Italian did admit that he was aware of Caballero's suitability for the shootout against City, having previously starred for the Citizens as they won the 2016 League Cup final on penalties with the Argentine in goal for them, and therefore knew their players 'very well'.
The revelation explains Kepa's lack of understanding of his manager's attempts to substitute him, though it is said that a dressing room row also followed after the resulting defeat, with Sarri angrily berating his goalkeeper and asking: "How could you do this?"
Kepa was subsequently omitted from the Chelsea side which beat Tottenham 2-0 in the Premier League three days later, but Sarri reinstated him between the sticks for the Blues' win against Fulham on Sunday.
Source : 90min