Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Chelsea, looks on prior to the Premier League match between Luton Town and Chelsea FC at Kenilworth Road on December 30, 2023 in Luton, England.
Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino.
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Pochettino refutes Gary Neville ‘billion pound bottle jobs’ jibe

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has hit back at Gary Neville for calling his team “bottle jobs”. 

The former Manchester United defender made the remark after Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk scored the winning goal in extra-time of the EFL Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.

Unless Chelsea win the FA Cup, they will go two full years without a trophy at the end of the season despite spending well in excess of £1bn on transfers since Clearlake Capital bought the club from Roman Abramovich.

 

Liverpool’s injury woes meant they ended the game with three teenagers on the pitch against an expensively assembled group of players, which prompted Neville to label the game a battle between “Klopp’s kids and the blue, billionaire bottle jobs”.

Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with Leeds United in the FA Cup fifth round, Pochettino used his press conference to offer a rebuke of Neville’s “unfair” jibe, insisting that Chelsea were the superior side in the final.

What Mauricio Pochettino Said About Gary Neville’s Chelsea Jibe:

“We need to put it all in context. We cannot go away from the game of football, what we see in the game. I respect the opinion of every pundit, I have a good relationship with Gary. But that doesn’t mean sometimes they can be unfair, in my opinion.

 

“After 90 minutes we were the better side, we deserved to win. We were not clinical enough, then you always need some luck.

“The team was tired, but our method was to go for the game – we put in [Christopher] Nkunku, we put in [Mykhailo] Mudryk, we refreshed our attack. We didn’t change offensive for defensive players.

“Then yesterday we heard Nkunku got injured, we don’t know when and how. Too many circumstances.

“We never set the team to go for penalties, we are a brave team, we are always going to try to win in 90 minutes. At half time in extra time, we said to go for it, that’s why we played offensive players to try and win the game. That didn’t happen, but we have to analyse the game. In extra time maybe they control a bit more, then the best player on the pitch [Virgil Van Dijk], he scores, and that was the difference.

 

“In the 90 minutes we were the better team. If people want to talk in a different way, that I didn’t shake hands with Todd [Boehly], or what Gary has to say… I am not an Englishman, sometimes I struggle with what people say, but in our life we want to be with people who are brave.

“In three or four years with Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool didn’t win a title. Look, now they are getting what they deserve. For us, after eight months to get a final is a massive achievement. We were there, a lot of young players had 90, 120 minutes, now they know what it is to play a final, and they will be better for this experience.”

Read – Chelsea ‘need to feel pain’ after cup final defeat

Read More – Conor Gallagher ‘not interested’ in Chelsea exit

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