Jurgen Klopp defends Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea from Gary Neville’s ‘bottle jobs’ tag

Jurgen Klopp has sprung to Chelsea’s defence by insisting they did not “bottle it” in the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team came in for heavy criticism after losing in extra time to a Liverpool side featuring the teenagers Bobby Clark, James McConnell and Jayden Danns and doing too little to win the game after Klopp brought on rookies.

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville branded the big spenders “blue billion-pound bottle jobs” but Klopp disagreed with that assessment.

He drew on his own experience of being beaten in finals – including his first three with Liverpool and the 2013 Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund – to stand up for Chelsea.

He said: “I understand that people have to talk about it, but I was in the other seat as well, losing a final. And people say a lot of things about you that you don’t like to hear. In my case, some of them were true, some were not true, just guessing what might have happened.

“I’m the one who knows what it’s like to lose five or six finals in a row. I can imagine how it was for Chelsea, everybody tells you, ‘By the way, you lost the last five and that’s a new record.’ It’s not nice I really felt for them. They didn’t deserve to get all the blame [because] they played a really good football game, in a final where nobody plays their absolute best football. You just have to beat the opponent, and that’s what we did.

“That’s why this ‘bottling’ thing is really not mine. I really don’t understand it. They wanted it badly and didn’t get it, and I saw in the faces of the players and Poch after the game that it felt horrible. I don’t think anybody deserves these kind of feelings but in finals it is like that, that one feels like that and the other one is happier. Tricky, but it is the world we are living in.”