CHELSEA’S dressing room is reportedly ‘split’ after Kepa Arrizabalaga’s stunning Wembley rebellion.
The goalkeeper refused to be substituted late in extra time despite going down with injury and No2 Willy Caballero ready to come on.
Already under pressure with his job on the line, it left manager Maurizio Sarri fuming, storming down the tunnel before coming back to see his side lose on penalties to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.
And now the Express is reporting that some members of the Chelsea squad are ‘fuming’ with the Spanish goalkeeper.
A source said: “Most of the players are more angry with Arrizabalaga. They thought he was putting himself ahead of the team.”
It is understood some of the Spanish players in the side are backing their compatriot.
Including Kepa, there are four Spaniards in the Blues’ Premier League side: Pedro, Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta, who has captained the side this season but was nowhere to be seen during the Wembley fiasco.
Both the player and the manager played down the incident in the immediate aftermath, claiming it was simply a “big misunderstanding”.
But as exclusively revealed by SunSport, Sarri went WILD at rebel stopper Kepa in the Wembley changing room.
A Chelsea source revealed: “First he screamed at Kepa by telling him it was the striker’s job to score and that he had the option to change one misfiring forward for another.
“He went on to say that keepers were in the same position — and if he believed another keeper could do a better job he had the right to make the change.”
SunSport understands Chelsea assistant boss Gianfranco Zola also made his feelings known to the 24-year-old.
The Blues fined the world’s most expensive goalkeeper one week’s wages – £190,000 – which was donated to the Chelsea Foundation.
In a statement on the club website, Kepa said: “Although there was a misunderstanding, on reflection, I made a big mistake with how I handled the situation.
“I wanted to take the time today to apologise fully and in person to the coach, to Willy, my team-mates and to the club.
“I have done this and now I want to offer the same apology to the fans.
“I will learn from this episode and will accept any punishment or discipline the club decides is appropriate.”
Manager Sarri also had his say. He added: “Kepa and I have spoken about the incident. It was a good conversation. There was a misunderstanding yesterday but he realises he made a big mistake in the way he reacted.
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“He has apologised to me, his team-mates and the club. It is up to the club if they want to discipline him according to the club rules, but for me this matter is now closed.
“The team performance as a whole was extremely positive and it is a shame to see how this incident has overshadowed our efforts in what was a very competitive Cup Final.
“Everyone’s focus is now on the next game and we must all now put this behind us.”
That next game is a crunch clash against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night, with Kepa expected to keep his place between the sticks.