Chelsea: Mauricio Pochettino reacts to Gary Neville 'billion-pound bottlejobs' jibe after Carabao Cup final loss

Chelsea: Mauricio Pochettino reacts to Gary Neville 'billion-pound bottlejobs' jibe after Carabao Cup final loss

Mauricio Pochettino has said Gary Neville's description of Chelsea as "blue billion-pound bottlejobs" was "unfair" after they were beaten by a depleted Liverpool in the Carabao Cup Final.

Virgil van Dijk's 118th-minute winner earned Jurgen Klopp's side a 1-0 victory in extra-time at Wembley and condemned Chelsea to a sixth straight defeat in a domestic cup final - a new record.

Already missing Trent-Alexander Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Dominik Szoboszlai and Darwin Nunez to injury, Liverpool finished the game with a host of youngsters on the pitch after Jayden Danns, 18, James McConnell and Bobby Clark, both 19, and Jarell Quansah, 21, came off the bench to join 20-year-old starter Harvey Elliott.

The average age of the Chelsea side was still younger, but the Blues have spent over £1billion on new players under their current ownership.

"In extra-time, it's been Klopp's kids against the blue, billion-pound bottlejobs," said Neville on commentary for Sky Sports.

Chelsea were beaten in the final minutes of stoppage time (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Chelsea were beaten in the final minutes of stoppage time (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Asked about Neville's comments afterward, Pochettino said: "I didn’t hear what he said, but if you compare the age of the two groups, I think it is similar.

"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 [going off] 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].

"[Neville] knows, he knows the dynamics are completely different. We were playing today Liverpool and Chelsea.

"I think it’s not fair to talk in this way if he said that. But I think we are going to keep strong and keep believing in this project and see what we can do in the future."

Pochettino said his players "need to feel the pain" of the defeat and described Liverpool, who are in Klopp's ninth and final season in charge, as a "good example" for the London club to follow.

Virgil van Dijk scored the 117th-minute winner (AP)
Virgil van Dijk scored the 117th-minute winner (AP)

"They need to feel the pain. They need to feel the competition," the head coach said.

"We play for a trophy and we didn’t get it. What can you tell me to feel better? Nothing. They need to feel the pain like us. They need to realise we need to work more, we need to do better things, we need to improve.

"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 lose the Champions League [Final], they lose the Europa League [Final], and they believe in the project.

"They were in the next seasons stronger until they got what they wanted. That is a good example if we want to challenge a team like Liverpool. It is not to be frustrated today because we didn’t win the trophy. It is about to take the example that we need to keep believing."

Pochettino remains without a trophy in English football, having lost the 2015 Carabao Cup Final in his first season at Tottenham as well as the Champions League Final to Klopp's Liverpool four years later.

"My emotions, it is the same as the players," he added. "I am so disappointed, it is so painful. I am an older guy who 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. Always it is about reaching the final.

"Oh it should be good, the first title, but after when you don’t get what you want, all the effort you made during these seven, eight months, it disappears so quick. That is difficult to manage. It is so painful. But if we want to win we have to move on."