English carabao cup

Mauricio Pochettino draws parallels with Chelsea and Liverpool while hitting back at Gary Neville

Mauricio Pochettino reacted to Gary Neville’s dig about his side having ‘bottled’ it after the Blues were beaten 1-0 by a Reds selection minus 11 senior players in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.

Pochettino is keen for his Chelsea side to emulate Liverpool, insisting they ‘need to feel the pain’ after their 1-0 loss to the Reds.

A Virgil van Dijk header in the 118th-minute clinched victory for a heavily-depleted Liverpool side at Wembley on Sunday evening, with the Reds entering the game without 11 senior players, and Ryan Gravenberch stretchered off in the first half.

Liverpool emerged victorious despite the adversity to win the eighth trophy of Klopp’s reign and a rueful but determined Pochettino opted instead to use the Reds’ defeats in the 2016 League Cup and Europa League Cup finals, as well as the 2018 Champions League finals in Klopp’s first finals as motivation for his own side following their loss at Wembley.

“They need to feel the pain like us,” the Argentine said of Chelsea. “And of course 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 six or seven years is competing for things.

“It’s 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, lost the Europa League, and they believe in the project and in the next season were stronger until they got what they wanted.

“That is a good example, Liverpool, if we want to challenge a team like Liverpool, it’s not to be frustrated today because we didn’t get the trophy. It’s about to take the example to keep believing, that is the most important thing.”

Pochettino dug his heels into the ground when it came to defending his side after pundit Gary Neville on commentary duty for Sky Sports had accused Chelsea of ‘bottling it’.

“We are a young team. Nothing to compare with Liverpool because they also finished with young players,” he conceded. “It’s impossible to compare.

“And he (Neville) knows that the dynamics are completely different. We were playing today Liverpool and Chelsea, Chelsea and Liverpool, and I don’t think it’s fair to speak in this way.

“We are going to keep strong, believe in this project and see what we can do in the future.”