Pedro Rodriguez has stated Kepa’s substitution row with Maurizio Sarri did not have any effect on the Chelsea dressing room, insisting the squad are “together”.
Following the Spanish goalkeeper’s refusal to be substituted in the closing stages of the League Cup final, Sarri responded by relegating Kepa to the bench in Wednesday’s match against Tottenham Hotspur with Willy Caballero taking his place. Amidst the ongoing turmoil at Stamford Bridge, the Blues came up with a massive display to defeat Spurs, with Kieran Trippier’s remarkable own goal padding out Pedro’s 57th-minute opener.
Speaking to media after the 2-0 win, Pedro insisted the Kepa incident, which was widely viewed as a brazen act of defiance against Sarri’s authority, did not cause a split in the Blues dressing room.
“There has been a lot of talk this week and that always destabilises [things] a little, but the truth is that in the dressing room we are together, as a great team,” said the Spaniard.
“We have not given much importance to everything that has been talked about and in the end that is the most important thing. We are focused on doing well in every game to get the three points, because from here to the end of the season they will be all finals and we will try to fight to be in the top four.”
Arsenal and Manchester United have also notched victories respectively, meaning Chelsea remain sixth in the Premier League standings albeit having a match in hand, yet Pedro hopes the vital win over Spurs, who have all but slipped up from the title race, can become the catalyst for their push for Champions League football next season, starting with a fixture against another London club in Fulham at the weekend.
“This was a great match for us to gain confidence and stay there [in the fight for the top four],” added Pedro.
“We have all talked to each other in the dressing room. We’ve also talked to Willy and we’ve talked to the coach. The truth is that we have solved all the problems and I think it has been a [small] incident rather than a serious problem.
“It always serves to learn. We are with Kepa, with Willy and with the manager. This is the path that we have to follow. Now we need to get ready very well for the match against Fulham because it is another final.”