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Pochettino blasts Neville’s ‘billion pound bottlejobs’ jibe after final woe

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MAURICIO POCHETTINO hit back at Gary Neville’s “blue billion-pound bottlejobs” taunt after his megabucks Chelsea lost to Liverpool’s kids in the Carabao Cup final.

The Blues – who famously spent more than a billion quid on players in the Todd Boehly era – were undone by Virgil van Dijk’s header with two minutes of extra time to go.

Jayden Danns, Bobby Clark, James McConnell and Conor Bradley show their youthful delight after Liverpool's Wembley defeat of Chelsea

That was despite Liverpool having rookies Jayden Danns, 18, Bobby Clark, 19, and James McConnell, also 19, on the pitch by the end of the game.

It led to Neville’s bottlejobs barb in commentary, which Poch branded as “unfair”.

The Argentine said: “I didn’t hear what he said, but if you compare the age of the two groups, I think it is similar.

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“I have a good relationship with Gary and I don’t know if that’s how I can take this opinion. But I respect his opinion.

“Of course, we made a few changes with (Conor) Gallagher and (Ben) Chilwell in extra time.

“But it is true we didn’t keep the energy of how we finished the second half.

“I don’t know how you can describe this situation. But for sure I feel proud. I feel proud of the players, I think they made a big effort.

“We are a young team and (it is) nothing to compare with Liverpool (just) because they finished with also a few young players. I think it’s impossible (to compare the two sides).

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“He (Neville) knows, he knows the dynamics are completely different.

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“I think it’s not fair to talk in this way, if he said that.

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

Chelsea’s team at the end of the game may have cost the earth and had no teenagers in it, but ironically its average age of 22.6years was younger than Liverpool’s of 24.1.

The defeat saw Pochettino’s long wait for a trophy in English football continue, having lost the 2015 League Cup final to Chelsea and 2019 Champions League final to Liverpool during his five-year reign at Tottenham.

They can still win the FA Cup this season and face old rivals Leeds in the fifth round on Wednesday, but have dropped to 11th in the Premier League.

Former Southampton boss Pochettino said there was still plenty of time for his youngsters to win silverware – but the same can not be said for himself.

The 51-year-old, who won Ligue Un as Paris Saint-Germain boss in 2022, added: “My emotions, it is the same as the players.

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The players need to feel the pain… We need to work more, we need to do better things.

Mauricio Pochettino

“I am so disappointed, it is so painful. I am an older guy that has less time to win titles, they are younger than me and for sure they have time.

“But in football always it is about when you have the opportunity.

“Now we need to move forward. But the players need to feel the pain. We played for a trophy and we didn’t get it.

“They need to realise we need to work more, we need to do better things, we need to improve.”

Pochettino urged his side to take inspiration from Jurgen Klopp’s side, who themselves lost major finals before eventually becoming serial winners.

He added: “To compete at this level against a team that is in the last five, six, seven years is competing for big things, it is about to arrive here first and then feel what it means to play for a big trophy.

“I remember after three or four years Liverpool lost the Champions League final, they lost the Europa League final, and they believed in the project.

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“They were in the next seasons stronger until they get what they wanted. That is a good example if we want to challenge a team like Liverpool.”

Source: The Sun

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