If there is perhaps one defining image from Maurizio's Sarri's short tenure as Chelsea boss, it came in last season's League Cup final. Chelsea and Manchester City were deadlocked in injury time when Blues goalkeeper went down with an injury.
He looked unable to continue, and with former City goalkeeper and penalty specialist Will Caballero on the bench, Sarri decided to make a change. However, the Spaniard refused to come off, enraging his manager in the process.
😳 - Have you EVER seen anything like it!?
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
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) February 24, 2019
Kepa would be dropped for the next game as punishment for his actions.
Gianfranco Zola was assistant to the Italian at the time, and speaking on beIN Sport during last night's UEFA Super Cup, he went into further detail on the incident. Apparently, Kepa was so angry because he had been faking the injury in order to waste time.
"We were speechless!"
It was one of THE iconic moments from last season 😳
Former assistant Chelsea manager Gianfranco Zola FINALLY reveals exactly what happened when Blues keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted by Maurizio Sarri in the Carabao Cup Final. pic.twitter.com/dOkCcoQ9FD
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) August 14, 2019
In the beginning he misunderstood. He was pretending he was injured because he wanted to waste time.
There was nothing really wrong but we then made some considerations. We knew we had Willy Caballero on the bench, who knew all of the Manchester City players and so it was an opportunity for us.
We were going to make the change. It wasn’t pre-arranged, but we saw the day before he was injured.
So we thought it was the injury coming back and we saw an opportunity because Caballero knows the Manchester City players so he can also be a good thing; simple as that.
It was obviously not an easy situation to deal with. We could not believe it, we were speechless, we kept telling him to come off but he didn’t come.
Regardless of the circumstances, ignoring the instructions of your manager in this manner is not on. It was the beginning of the end for Sarri at Stamford Bridge, and he never really recovered from this incident despite his Europa League win.