Chelsea's Sarri praises recalled Kepa as keeper shines

Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri

The win at Fulham sees Chelsea close the gap on fifth-placed Arsenal to just one point with a game in hand on the Gunners.

Kepa - the world's most expensive goalkeeper at £71.6million from Athletic Bilbao - ignored Sarri's attempts to replace him in last Sunday's Carabao Cup final loss to City, with penalties looming. But Sarri expects the 27-year-old to improve as the team learn "our way of football". Instead of his usual possession-based style of play, Sarri adapted a bit to the players' strengths. It was a normal decision. He made a mistake on a misunderstanding, but now it's enough. Now the situation is closed.

"I can kill him, but I think that was right", he added.

'He has a good mentality.

"I think Zidane would be a very good appointment at Chelsea".

'Kepa is a man. We had a great opportunity today. Top four is a hard war, because we're not only four teams, we're six teams.

Speaking in an interview with Chelsea FC's website after the win over Fulham, Azpilicueta said: "Now after the last results, Tottenham is in the race to make the top four, that is clear".

Kepa's return nearly started in embarrassing fashion when he made a complete hash of catching Kevin McDonald's cross in a swirling wind, the ball slipping through his grasp as he was challenged by Ryan Babel.

But from the resulting corner, Chelsea were punished for an very bad piece of defending as Fulham grabbed a 28th-minute equaliser.

Yet barely six minutes had later Craven Cottage erupted when Calum Chambers drifted unmarked to the back post and scored from a Ryan Babel cross following a corner kick.

After a rocky start to the most crucial month of the season, Chelsea got it together during the back half of February.

Chelsea continued to look for a third after the restart, and Hazard and Willian both had shots saved by Rico who remained busy in the Fulham goal.

Mitrovic blasted just over from 20 yards and Tom Cairney's long-range effort forced a good stop from Kepa. He actually began the match nervously, nearly dropping a cross at the feet of Ryan Babel after mistiming his jump, but he made amends by pulling off good stops from Tom Cairney and Joe Bryan in the first half as Fulham sought to go in level at the break.

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