Sarri issues defence of Azpilicueta amid criticism of Chelsea captain

Chelsea: Cesar Azpilicueta
Cesar Azpilicueta has been criticised for not intervening at Wembley. [Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire]

Maurizio Sarri has defended Chelsea players, including Cesar Azpilicueta, for not responding to the extraordinary incident involving Kepa Arrizabalaga at Wembley.

Kepa has been fined a week’s wages and apologised after refusing to come off when Blues head coach Sarri wanted to substitute him during the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.

David Luiz was the only Chelsea player to speak to Kepa while the goalkeeper was refusing to leave the pitch.

There has been some criticism of other players, particularly captain Azpilicueta, for not intervening in the way former Chelsea stalwarts such as John Terry would have been expected to.

But Sarri said: “The captain spoke with me immediately after the match, then he spoke with Kepa. The situation was really very clear in the dressing room after.

“It was really a very unusual situation so I think the players were really very shocked. It was impossible to react immediately, I think.”

Speaking at a media conference on Tuesday afternoon, Sarri said he had not decided whether Kepa will play against Tottenham on Wednesday and that he wants to “send a message” with his team selection.