Chelsea “more united” following Kepa commotion – Sarri
The Blues face a Fulham side being guided by former midfielder Scott Parker following the sacking of Claudio Ranieri.
Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri believes the Kepa Arrizabalaga furore has galvanised his squad.
Kepa was fined and dropped for Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Tottenham for his refusal to be substituted in last Sunday’s Carabao Cup final penalty shootout loss to Manchester City.
While Sarri insists the episode is over, he has yet to decide whether the world’s most expensive goalkeeper could return at Fulham on Sunday – with deputy Willy Caballero retaining his place after playing against Spurs – or be recalled for Thursday’s Europa League match with Dynamo Kiev.
“For the players, I think it was an experience useful for staying more united,” Sarri said.
“When there is a difficult situation, I think it’s very difficult for everybody, but it’s a big opportunity, also.
“You have to take that opportunity. Of course, it was really a very bad experience but I think we can come out of this situation better than before.”
Spurs were Chelsea’s first Premier League opponents since the 6-0 loss at Manchester City which rendered Sarri’s position precarious.
The 60-year-old was widely expected to become the next Premier League boss to lose his job but instead that was Claudio Ranieri at Fulham.
Former Chelsea midfielder Scott Parker will take charge of the Cottagers on Sunday in his first match as a front-line manager but Sarri was sparing in his advice.
The Italian added: “To take this job, you have to love football, but you have to forget everything that is around football.
“I think so, otherwise it’s impossible to do this job.”