Maurizio Sarri and Kepa Arrizabalaga have both sought to play down an extraordinary incident during the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.
Chelsea lost to Manchester City on penalties after keeper Kepa had refused to go off when under-pressure head coach Sarri tried to replace him with a couple of minutes of extra time remaining.
Kepa, who has been nursing a hamstring problem, appeared to be struggling so Sarri had Willy Caballero ready to come on.
Despite his boss’ protestations on the touchline, Kepa would not leave the pitch.
Sarri was clearly furious – but he insisted after the game that the incident was “a big misunderstanding” and that Kepa was simply making it clear he was fit to continue.
“I misunderstood the problem and only realised the situation when the doctor arrived at the bench,” Sarri added.
“He understood I asked for a change for his physical problem. He said, ‘I haven’t a physical problem’ and he was right.”
“Kepa was right but (behaved) in the wrong way, I think. I was really angry but then I realised everything when the doctor arrived.
“I thought Kepa had cramp but then the doctor explained to me that it wasn’t cramp.”
Kepa has also insisted that the incident was a misunderstanding and that he was simply reassuring Sarri that he was fit to continue rather than seeking to undermine him.
“First of all, I have to say it was misunderstood,” Kepa told Chelsea’s website.
“In no moment was it my intention to disobey, or anything like that with the boss. Just that it was misunderstood, because I had been attended to by the medics twice, and he thought that I wasn’t in condition to continue.
“It was two or three minutes of confusion until the medics got to the bench, and they explained everything well.
“It was misunderstood. Because he thought I couldn’t continue, and – fundamentally – I was trying to say that physically I was fine.
“I know if you see it from outside, I don’t know how it went out, it is not the best image. I have spoken with the boss. I think it was misunderstood.
“I understand that on television, on social media, they’re talking about this but I am here to explain it, to say that it wasn’t my intention to go against the manager.
“We have spoken now, and I was only trying to say I’m fine. He thought I wasn’t fine.”