Pochettino hits back at Gary Neville after Man United legend called Chelsea stars ‘billion-pound bottle jobs’

Mauricio Pochettino
Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Mauricio Pochettino has responded to Gary Neville’s criticism of his Chelsea players as a result of their performance in the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool.

Liverpool emerged winners of the final, no thanks to a late goal from their captain, Virgil van Dijk.

Chelsea will be kicking themselves for not doing enough to win it in extra time though, with the Blues seemingly taking their foot off the pedal in a bid to drag the game to a penalty shootout, when they could have made their superiority count against a Liverpool side that had five U-18 players on the pitch during that stage of the match.

Neville was particularly disappointed with the way Pochettino’s men played in extra time, and went on to label them ‘billion-pound bottle jobs’ during his post-match analysis, but when asked what he thought about the pundit’s assessment of his side’s display, the Chelsea boss told a press conference: “I don’t hear what he said but I think if you compare the age of the two groups I think it’s similar.

“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.

“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.”

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.”

Pochettino is still without a trophy in England, after failing to win the Carabao Cup.