Chelsea down lively Fulham in entertaining derby tie

Sarri was reportedly on the brink of being sacked

The Spaniard and his manager were at the centre of an extraordinary argument during the closing moments of extra-time in the Carabao Cup final last month that saw the shotstopper refuse to be substituted ahead of a penalty shoot-out.

The west London side are off the pace in the race for a top-four finish this season, with Sarri's men now sixth in the table, although they do have a game in hand on the teams above them.

There is a chance that last weekend's incident was a genuine misunderstanding.

Nevertheless, Kepa should have handled the situation better than he did, particularly as Caballero was clearly stripped and ready to come on.

Goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Jorginho earned Chelsea a 2-1 victory over Fulham in the West London derby and ensured there would be no fairytale start for Cottagers caretaker boss Scott Parker.

Yet barely six minutes later Craven Cottage erupted when Calum Chambers drifted unmarked to the back post and scored from a Ryan Babel cross following a corner. Meanwhile, Chelsea's slide from the top end of the table-suspended, possibly arrested with their recent win over Tottenham-has left the Blues outside of the top four places, though they have played one fewer game than both fourth-place Manchester United and fifth-place Arsenal.

Roman Abramovich wants Chelsea ace out of the club after his row with manager Maurizio Sarri, according to report.

Given the lack of minutes on the pitch, many were surprised the club's social media team were able to use a gallery of images of Drinkwater in action. Now the situation is closed.

Drinkwater has not featured since the Community Shield against Manchester City back in August and has only made the bench for one Premier League match this season - the 4-1 home win over Cardiff City in mid-September. "But Kepa is a man and understood and reacted very well today".

Vital wins over Tottenham and Fulham have kept Chelsea in the race for a top-four finish and given Sarri a little breathing space
Vital wins over Tottenham and Fulham have kept Chelsea in the race for a top-four finish and given Sarri a little breathing space

"I just tried to free him up".

"His behaviour during the week was really very good".

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

"With another man", he said, that would have been an outcome - before adding that with this one "I knew it wasn't the right decision".

"He is very clever, with a very good mentality. He made a mistake, but now that is enough".

"Considering the man, no [it was not considered], because I know him very well", the Italian said.

And with 19th-placed Fulham next up, Sarri has his sights on a top-four finish.

Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has backed Maurizio Sarri to succeed at Stamford Bridge, despite a hard start to life in the Premier League.

"There appears to be a lot of player power at Chelsea that he is struggling to overcome like many have before him".

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He said: "It is OK, a hard game for different reasons and a wild opponent". "We played our part by trying to stop that happening". Centre-back Kurt Zouma is available again having sat out the 3-0 win at Cardiff on Tuesday as he served a one-match suspension.

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