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Kepa incident weakens Sarri’s position – Nevin

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin feels the Kepa Arrizabalaga substitution furore undermines Maurizio Sarri’s position as Blues head coach.

Kepa’s refusal to be replaced with penalties looming in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final at Wembley overshadowed Manchester City’s 4-3 shootout win.

It also hinted at tensions at Chelsea, Nevin says, despite protestations from Sarri, Kepa and others that it was all a misunderstanding.

Nevin told BBC Radio 5 Live: “What he (Sarri) has to do now is to make sure Kepa knows that he was in the wrong.

“They’re saying now it’s not a problem, it’s a little misunderstanding etc.

“That absolutely does weaken his position and make it look as if the player had more power than him.”

Former Chelsea defender Mario Melchiot says Kepa deserves to be rebuked.

However, given the public stance Chelsea have taken, Melchiot says Sarri cannot now drop Kepa for Wednesday’s match with Tottenham as the furore would continue.

Melchiot told Sky Sports News: “If you say it is a misunderstanding, you can’t drop him, and you can’t fine him because if you do people are going to find out.

“They have to move on from it, but I definitely think they are going to call him to one side and at least talk to him, saying ‘you can’t do this again’.

“You are creating now a player that looks in this situation stronger than the whole team. So I expect Chelsea at least to say we have to talk to him because this is embarrassing.”