The Spanish international appeared to refuse to be replaced by Willy Caballero deep into injury time of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City after having gone down for a second time with cramp.
Sarri was visibly enraged by the situation and almost stormed down the Wembley tunnel in frustration after telling Willy Caballero to re-take his seat on the bench.
The world’s most expensive goalkeeper remained between the posts during the subsequent shoot-out defeat – diving over Sergio Aguero’s penalty before saving Leroy Sane’s effort – but the bizarre situation had already clouded over what had been a resolute display from the Blues.
After the game, Maurizio Sarri was asked about the incident and stated that it was simply a misunderstanding between player and manager.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the Italian played down the situation: “It was a misunderstanding, I heard there was a problem and we needed to change it. I realised the situation only when the doctor arrived on the bench after some minutes. It was a misunderstanding, I understood the goalkeeper had cramp and would be unable to go to the penalties.
Now, Kepa himself has given a version of events in line with that of his manager.
In an Instagram post, the Chelsea No.1 also emphasised that it was simply a misunderstanding about his injury.
The full statement read as follows:
“Upset and sad for not being able to take the title, we fought until the end against a great team. We will continue working to be stronger.
“I would also like to clarify some facts of 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 everything has been misunderstood in the heat 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.”