Mauricio Pochettino responds after Gary Neville brands Chelsea ‘bottle jobs’ after Carabao Cup final loss to Liverpool

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino missed on out in his first trophy in England (Picture: Getty)

Mauricio Pochettino has hit back after Gary Neville labelled Chelsea ‘billion pound bottle jobs’ in the wake of the side’s Carabao Cup final defeat, claiming it is ‘not fair to talk in this way’.

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk scored a dramatic extra-time header to secure the Merseyside giants a record tenth League Cup title after earlier having a goal disallowed by VAR.

In a breathless 64th League Cup final, Raheem Sterling also had a goal chalked off for offside, while Conor Gallagher and Cody Gakpo both struck the woodwork in normal time.

Pochettino appeared on the verge of tears at the full-time whistle as he was denied his first trophy in English football, and the Argentine appeared to snub Chelsea owner Todd Boehly as he picked up his runners-up medal in the stands.

At his post-match press conference, Pochettino cut a frustrated figure but praised his young Chelsea team on their performance despite the result, jumping to their defence after Neville branded them ‘billion pound bottle jobs’ on Sky Sports’ commentary.

‘I don’t hear what he said but I think if you compare the age of the two groups I think it’s similar,’ the Chelsea head coach told reporters.

‘But look, I have a good relationship with Gary and I don’t know how I can take [that comment]. It’s his opinion but I respect his opinion.

Manchester United legend Neville branded Chelsea ‘billion pound bottle jobs’ (Picture: Getty)

‘Of course, we made a few changes with Gallagher and [Ben] Chilwell coming off in extra-time, but it’s true, we didn’t keep the energy that we finished with in the second half.

‘I don’t know how you can describe this situation but for sure I feel proud of the players, I think they made a big effort and we are a young team and nothing to compare with Liverpool because they finished with also a few young players.

‘I think it’s impossible to compare and he knows it.’

Van Dijk scored in the 118th minute at Wembley (Picture: Getty)

Pochettino added: ‘He knows that the dynamics are completely different and we were playing today Liverpool, Chelsea and Chelsea, Liverpool, and it seems not fair to talk in this way if he says that.

‘But I think we are going to keep strong and believing in this project and see what we can do in the future.’

Chelsea forward Sterling had a goal ruled out for offside (Picture: Getty)

Asked whether he expected more from his players in extra-time, the Chelsea manager replied: ‘Look, of course that was difficult. Of course always some experience, some leadership inside the pitch helps but of course, after to be frustrated.

‘The players feel the disappointment because we were so close to winning the game after 90 minutes and we feel a little bit to lose our energy.

‘Some players like Gallagher and Chilwell start to feel really, really tired and maybe use different players to go with and help.

‘We need to change Gallagher after five minutes and then in the start of the second 15 minutes, I think Chilwell. The team started to feel that maybe the penalties will be good for us.

‘But we cannot blame, we cannot say nothing. I think the effort was massive.

‘I am happy with the effort. It’s about to keep believing in that. We didn’t get the reward we wanted, but now we keep moving.’

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