Chelsea ace, Eden Hazard, has revealed that the club’s senior players had words with the club’s first choice goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, after the goalkeeper’s refusal to be substituted for Willy Caballero during Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final.
The Spanish goalkeeper was fined a week’s wages after appearing to disobey manager Maurizio Sarri in declining to come off for Willy Caballero at Wembley.
He was also dropped for Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over London rivals Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, Caballero taking his place.
And team-mate Hazard has admitted that he and some of his team-mates spoke to Arrizabalaga about his actions while insisting the whole squad is now moving past the fiasco.
Speaking to RMC, the Belgian forward said: ‘It’s a fact of play in a final. We explained ourselves, explained to him with the club, with the players, with the coach, with Willy Caballero too.
‘He knows very well that he made a mistake and, here we are, we will get over that. He has the potential to become one of the best in the world.’
Arrizabalaga was heckled and booed by sections of the Blues support at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, fans clearly furious with the lack of respect shown towards his manager.
His replacement Caballero, who was mobbed by his team-mates after playing a key role in the win over Mauricio Pochettino’s side, has called on the Chelsea faithful to lay-off his team-mate.
‘I hope the fans don’t hold it against him,’ he said following the huge Premier League scalp.
‘We make mistakes because we are human beings, we are people. That’s it. This can be the same for top players or experienced players, we make mistakes in our lives, in our jobs.
‘The good result of this is we have found a lot of people near to him to help him. We trained very well the next day to prepare for the game.
‘The boss decided to put me in the goal and he (Kepa) was supporting me in the warm-up and everything so I think we are in good harmony. We must keep going like this because as keepers we must support each other.
‘We spoke about it after the incident and it was good to have a chat with him. I think he learned a lot from what happened, we learned a lot as a team and as a club.
‘Sometimes these things put players apart but in this case we are more together than ever. It was a strange situation that everybody has to watch. We had to pass it. I had to live with it, we had to live with it.
‘But everybody that was involved in what happened, learned something. This just brings something good in the atmosphere of the team, that’s the good news, that we went through this.
‘Of course it was probably very important (what happened) because it was in a final, but it doesn’t matter. We improved a lot and we are more together than ever.’
Sarri confirmed after the win over Spurs that Arrizabalaga will be reinstated as his No 1 against Fulham on Sunday, or Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League next Thursday.