Mauricio Pochettino responds to Gary Neville's 'billion-pound bottlejobs' jibe

  • Chelsea fell to an inexperienced Liverpool side in Sunday's Carabao Cup final
  • Blues had plenty of chances to win but Virgil van Dijk's extra-time header settled the game
  • Neville took aim at Chelsea's expensive stars after the defeat

Pochettino's wait for silverware in England goes on
Pochettino's wait for silverware in England goes on / ADRIAN DENNIS/GettyImages

Mauricio Pochettino has insisted it was "unfair" of Gary Neville to label his Chelsea side "billion-pound bottlejobs" after their Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool.

Neville taunted Chelsea's expensive squad for losing to "Jurgen Klopp's kids" after the Liverpool boss was forced to turn to a number of inexperienced players for a large part of the game, questioning how the Blues could cost so much money but still struggle on the biggest stage.

Asked about Neville's comments, Pochettino urged Chelsea's critics to look at the bigger picture beyond the price tag of the squad.

"I didn't hear what he said, but if you compare the age of the two groups, I think it is similar," Pochettino said, pointing to the fact that the average age of the Liverpool team was higher than Chelsea's at both the start and the end of the game.

"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.

Gary Neville
Neville riled up Chelsea supporters / Visionhaus/GettyImages

"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. 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 the two sides].

"[Neville] knows, he knows the dynamics are completely different. 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."

The Chelsea team that ended the game had an average age of 22.6, compared to 24.1 of Liverpool, but the Blues' young players all have several seasons of top-flight football under their belts, while Liverpool finished with four youngsters who have a combined 17 Premier League appearances between them - half of which belong to 21-year-old centre-back Jarell Quansah.

It was a crushing defeat for Chelsea, who must quickly switch their focus to Wednesday's FA Cup fifth-round clash with Leeds United on Wednesday.