Maurizio Sarri unsure about Kepa's return to Chelsea team

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refuses to leave the pitch after his proposed substitution during the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley

A seemingly injured Kepa refused to make way for Willy Caballero towards the end of extra-time during last Sunday's goalless draw, with Manchester City subsequently retaining their title on penalties.

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

'Jorginho has a very strong character, a very strong personality, ' the 60-year-old Blues head coach said.

And he feels Kepa's public show of defiance might have had an overall positive impact on the dressing room. Now I can understand very well that, in England, it's very hard to be in the top four.

"But it's a big opportunity, also".

"We have to take the opportunity".

"I think that he can do better. I think so, otherwise it's impossible to do this job".

Asked how it has benefited him and his players, Sarri replied: "For the players, I think it was an experience useful for staying more united. I have not decided yet, I want to see the last two trainings of course, for every player".

"I needed only 30 seconds to return in my mind, no more", he explained. "So we need to value the recovery because we ran for 15km on Sunday on average, and the average in the last match was 12km", Sarri added.

"And also with the results".

"But in this moment we know that Willy is doing very well".

Fulham are 10 points adrift of Premier League safety with 10 games remaining, and with games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City to come in March, their chances of survival appear bleak.

"Yesterday - I don't really have many friends - the phone was just pinging away", said Parker.

"We went in Champions League three times in a row for the first time in the history of the club. The results are only a outcome - sometimes not, but in 95 percent of cases [they are]". Ruben Loftus-Cheek did well off the bench against Tottenham but I think a place among the subs is the best he can hope for on Sunday. I was lucky because, with Napoli, we returned [to] the Champions League.

Sarri has admitted Gonzalo Higuain needs to improve on his fitness before we'll see the best of him in the Premier League but I still think he'll start up front at Craven Cottage this weekend with Olivier Giroud among the subs.

"You have to accept a player can not stay at the top of the physical condition or mental condition for 11 months", Sarri said of the Spaniard.

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