Chelsea boss Pochettino hits back at bottle job jibe

Mauricio Pochettino has hit back at “unfair” and “annoying” criticism of Chelsea after his side were labelled billion-pound bottle jobs.

Chelsea were given the “blue billion-pound bottle jobs” label by former Manchester United defender Gary Neville after Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Liverpool in the League Cup final.

Neville, working as a commentator for Sky Sports, was scathing of Chelsea’s lethargic performance in extra-time at Wembley as an inexperienced Liverpool line-up extended the Blues’ wait for their first domestic trophy since 2018.

Despite spending over £1 billion ($1.5 billion) on signings since Toddy Boehly’s consortium bought Chelsea in 2022, the west London club have gone backwards over the last two seasons.

But Pochettino refused to accept Neville’s swipe, telling reporters on Tuesday: “The problem is so annoying when after eight months always people talk about one billion.

“I feel that’s a little bit unfair. The new owners arrived with the right intention and they want to build something that is different from the past.

“For me the players have an amazing quality, they only need time. It’s not an excuse for me because if I am here or not, it’s not dependent on me. I think we are doing an amazing job.”

Chelsea are languishing in 11th place in the Premier League and have been booed off by their frustrated fans several times this season.

Boehly has already sacked Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter during his short reign and Pochettino cannot afford an embarrassing FA Cup fifth round exit at home to second tier Leeds on Wednesday.

But, adamant Chelsea will get it right in time, Pochettino said: “We cannot see maybe great results. But I think with time we are going to have an amazing team.

“We are young, we are learning. People that work here for many years say they start to feel in a different way how the club is.

“But unfortunately we cannot relate in points. Always this type of process needs time.”

Asked if he expects the club’s ownership to remain patient, Pochettino replied: “Why not? I am confident until they tell me something.

“I feel the support from them. When I go up (to receive his runners-up medal at Wembley), I was so upset, nearly crying when I arrived there.

“And then Todd sent a very, very nice text to me, and then I met (co owner) Behdad (Eghbali) and he was really good.”

 

© Agence France-Presse

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Dylan Johnson