Former Chelsea striker Carlton Cole believes Kepa Arrizabalaga “got off lightly” with his punishment for refusing to be substituted and believes Maurizio Sarri should’ve been stricter with his handling of the player. Chelsea’s No.1 was criticised for refusing to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final and the club’s former striker was left upset at the incident.
The Spaniard, who was fined a week’s wages and dropped for Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Tottenham after his show of defiance in the Carabao Cup final, could now return to the starting XI to play Fulham on Sunday. And Cole is stunned that Chelsea’s £72 million ($95m) record signing is in contention to return so soon after the incident at Wembley and believes that his previous managers wouldn’t have stood for Kepa’s antics.
“I was so upset with the Kepa incident,” Cole told Goal at the London Football Awards. “He is probably a good lad and just wanted to stay on the field. I wanted to see him do his best. It is pretty simple though, if the manager tells you to come off, you come off. There’s no excuse. I see my number go up and always thought ‘I go’. I may have had a bad game, but I go ‘see you later’, go down the tunnel, and then I deal with it. I have a go at the manager later on. The manager tried to cover him up after. I say don’t do that.”
“Tell him off in public. Call him out. Don’t be a nice guy. It is time to be mean. That’s my criticism of Sarri. Any manager I had, if I did that I would be getting a shouting down in the changing room. He got dropped, but it felt like he got off lightly as he is soon coming back.”
Cole played for Chelsea for several seasons but saw his role reduced to something of an impact sub, with Didier Drogba the main man at the club at the time. The Blues have struggled to replace the Ivorian’s goals, especially since their decision to sell Diego Costa back in January 2018, and Cole thinks that while Alvaro Morata remains a top striker, he just wasn’t the right fit for the club. “Morata had a big ask, I rated him, and I still think he is a great striker,” Cole added.
“To be like Drogba at Chelsea, you have to have balls. He has tried his best, but it was hard for him because Diego Costa came in and replaced Drogba. Costa showed the same tenacity, skill and nouse. He made things happen. He was a nuisance to everyone. It was a step down to let him go for Morata.”
Carlton Cole is now a coach at West Ham United, a club he played for after leaving Chelsea. The Blues play London rivals Fulham who are involved in the fight to stay up in the Premier League for next season. Fulham fired former Chelsea manager, Claudio Raineri during the week and put former Chelsea player, Scott Parker in charge.