David Luiz has affirmed that Maurizio Sarri has ‘power’ over Chelsea’s squad and ‘our respect’ after the Kepa Arrizabalaga controversy.
Chelsea lost to Manchester City on penalties in Sunday’s EFL Cup Final, but the Wembley showpiece descended into chaos when Kepa ignored Sarri’s calls for him to make way for Willy Caballero ahead of the shootout.
The former Napoli boss was visibly angered by the incident as he stormed down the tunnel before returning to his dugout, but Luiz insisted his teammates were ‘with’ their manager.
“I love the way he plays, the way he is as a man,” the defender said after the game, Goal.com reports.
“He is a fantastic person so, of course, the players are with him. For me, it was more difficult to miss the penalty that didn’t get him the trophy than it was for me. I wish I had given that to Sarri.
“My penalty touched the post and came out. Sterling’s hit the bar and went in. Aguero’s [squeezed in]. Sometimes the luck is not on your side.
“I think we did a great game and you have to be intelligent in life to take the positive sides, positive things and learn from it.
“The coach has the power over the group. He has our respect. People can think in a negative way or a positive way.
“It is about our lives, it is always like that. People are negative, people are positive, people are happy, they are sad.
“For me, there is not a problem here for that. We all believe in his philosophy, we all believe in the way he wants us to play.
“That’s why we did a great game against the best team in Europe at the moment. Apart from that, it was a misunderstanding and we all want to do what is best for Chelsea.”
“It was more of a misunderstanding because it is never easy for us to listen from afar,” he explained.
“I didn’t know if the Coach wanted to make the change because it was his decision or because he’d [Kepa] already been on the floor twice.
“Kepa was saying, ‘No, I’m good, I can stay on the pitch’, but from far you can’t understand. You have the fans too, they start to boo [so it’s hard to hear].
“We saw that. I’m sure if Kepa knew the Coach wished to change him because it was his decision, he would have come off because he is a great professional, he is a great boy and would respect that.
“But I think he just didn’t know if the Coach was changing him because he was on the floor twice or if he wanted to change him because it was his decision.”