Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri has emerged unscathed from one of the most challenging weeks of his Chelsea reign after a bust-up with goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga at Wembley last weekend, leading to the Spaniard being dropped for the game against Tottenham. However, the Italian opted to recall the 24-year-old following his public apology and the club’s decision to fine him a week’s wages. And the move paid off, with Kepa making a string of fine saves to stave off the Cottagers and secure the three points.
“Kepa is a man. He understood the mistake so he was able to react very well. I am very happy with Willy [Caballero]. It is very important for our group and our dressing room. I think he [Kepa] will have space from this momentum to the end of the season.” he added
Sarri was full of praise for his players after lasting the distance to seal a second London derby triumph in four days with a battling 2-1 victory over Fulham. Goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Jorginho either side of Calum Chambers’ strike sent the Blues within two points of fourth-placed Manchester United with a game in hand. It was the Blues’ third game in seven days following their narrow penalty shootout defeat to Manchester City in the EFL Cup final and a crucial 2-0 win over Tottenham in midweek.
But despite their gruelling fixture schedule, Chelsea held off a fightback from Fulham in the second half to record a first away win in 2019. And Sarri was left feeling positive after a second win in four days, even if his side’s profligacy made for a nervy finish to the game at Craven Cottage.
“We played very well only for 60 minutes, We could have killed the match. We were not able to so in the last 20 or 25 minutes we were in trouble because we were very tired mentally and physically after 120 minutes against Manchester City and a strong match against Tottenham. But I am really very happy with the performance for 60 minutes and the result.” Sarri told BBC Match of the Day.