HomeNeville's bottlejob remark has not helped Chelsea - Pochettino

Neville’s bottlejob remark has not helped Chelsea – Pochettino

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Mauricio Pochettino rubbished the suggestion Gary Neville’s “bottlejob” remark inspired Chelsea to beat Leeds in midweek, insisting he and his players only gave it “a few seconds” of attention.

Sky Sports pundit Neville labelled Pochettino’s side the “blue billion-pound bottlejobs” following Virgil van Dijk’s winning goal for Liverpool in last Sunday’s EFL Cup final.

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In response, Chelsea overcame Leeds in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday night but Pochettino is adamant there was no link between the two events.

Asked if Neville’s comments were a good thing and had fired up his side, Pochettino said: “No, not a good thing. The players are professional and always want to win.

“We didn’t win on Wednesday because of the comment of Gary.

“But the players follow my vision and the way that I behave. They only pay attention because here in England, when an important person like Gary is talking this way, of course you pay attention, but only for a few seconds, then you move on.”

The matchwinner against Leeds was Chelsea captain Conor Gallagher who has yet to agree a new contract despite having less than 18 months left on his current deal.

His status as a homegrown player, plus Chelsea’s heavy investment over the past 18 months, means a transfer this summer would help the club hugely in their bid to remain within the Premier League’s financial guidelines.

Pochettino has repeatedly said he cannot get involved in contract negotiations and he did not veer from that stance today.

He added: “That [contract negotiations] is another thing. That is about two parts that need to be agreed and I cannot be involved in this. It’s between the club and Conor that can make the deal. I am the coach that needs to be in my place.

“I take the best decision for the team and for the club. If I believe Conor deserves to play, that is my job, and to pick the best XI, to perform and to win games. That’s my main job.”

Chelsea go to Brentford tomorrow and could have defenders Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella back in the squad after injury.

Pochettino said: We need to assess him [Thiago Silva] and Marc Cucurella. Both maybe are still to be decided, but maybe the possibility to be involved with the squad.

“It is good news that they have the possibility to be with the squad.”

France winger Christopher Nkunku remains sidelined, though. 

“I think he suffered a problem with his hamstrings and now we’ll see if in a few weeks if he’ll be available,” said Pochettino.

“He’s a little bit unlucky to suffer another setback from another injury, it’s tough for a player that didn’t play too much and came from Germany with some problems.

“He was so good in pre-season and it’s been a difficult season for him.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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