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Chelsea Boss Makes Surprise Claim About Kepa Row

Maurizio Sarri has endured a turbulent few weeks
Maurizio Sarri has endured a turbulent few weeks

The extraordinary flashpoint between Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has made the group stronger.

That's the surprising claim from Sarri after a turbulent week which included Kepa refuse to be substituted during the Carabao Cup Final against Manchester City.

Sarri tried to swap goalkeepers with a penalty shootout looming but Willy Caballero ended up staying on the bench. It was an incident that led many to question whether Sarri had still got the backing of his players, especially as it came just a week after the Blues were humiliated by City at the Etihad Stadium in the league.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Sarri claimed the row had actually had a positive effect on the Chelsea camp. He said: "After a very difficult situation, a group is not the same. So there is the opportunity to be better, and you have to take it.

"Kepa is the first choice, of course, he is very young, he is improving, we know very well that he can become one of the best goalkeepers in Europe, but in this moment we know that Willy (Caballero) is doing very well. He is very important in our group and dressing room, so we need to consider him."

While some have suggested Sarri will not get the time to implement his methods at Stamford Bridge, the Italian has other ideas.

"It's impossible to answer," .when asked how long he might need to get his blueprint across. "Sometimes three months is enough, sometimes you need one season or one season and a half. I think if you change country, change football, it is longer.

"Now I am in the first season in England, and I started to understand some things, not everything at the moment, so now I realise that here it [takes] longer, more difficult. Because the mentality is different."

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