LONDON: Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri was in the mood to forgive and forget after his recalled goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga produced a fine display in their 2-1 win at Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday. Just a week after Arrizabalaga’s now infamous refusal to be substituted in Chelsea’s League Cup final defeat by Manchester City had enraged Sarri, the young keeper was left to bathe in the Italian’s praise for his excellence at Craven Cottage. “He played very well, it was a normal decision (to bring him back),” Sarri told Sky Sports as Chelsea moved within two points of fourth spot in the race for Champions League football.
“He paid with the club and the team, now the situation is closed. There wasn’t another way but I think that Kepa is a man. He understood and reacted really very well.” As a punishment for his Wembley defiance, Sarri had dropped Arrizabalaga for the midweek defeat of Tottenham Hotspur and the Spaniard, who apologised to the club and his team mates for his actions, was also fined a week’s wages. “I spoke with him during the week, he understood,” Sarri added. “His training was really very good, the reaction today was very good. I know the man, he is very good. He made a mistake, but now that is enough.” Having drafted Arrizabalaga back into the lineup for the west London derby after Willy Caballero had filled in for him expertly in the 2-0 win over Spurs. — Reuters