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Chelsea players were not to blame for lonely mascot, says Pochettino

Chelsea mascot alone at Anfield
The Chelsea mascot appeared confused at being left alone while the team warmed up

Mauricio Pochettino has absolved his players of any blame over the Chelsea mascot who was left stranded during a rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone at Anfield on Wednesday night.

Telegraph Sport reported on the fact Chelsea had believed the young mascot to be in the care of Liverpool ahead of their 4-1 defeat, pointing to the fact that each club has a matchday mascot coordinator.

Premier League protocols do not expect mascot coordinators to go on the pitch. They wait on the touchline while the mascots join the club captains as the players walk out and there is an expectation they will be looked after by them before returning to the sidelines before kick-off.

But Pochettino, like Chelsea, has suggested the responsibility lies with Liverpool and insisted that his players, including captain on the evening Ben Chilwell, were not responsible for the mascot being left alone.

Chelsea have contacted the mascot’s family and invited him to be the captain’s mascot for another game in recognition of the fact he was left alone while Liverpool’s iconic anthem was played.

Asked if he was aware of the mascot being stranded at Anfield, Pochettino said: “I saw. I’m very disappointed. That cannot happen on the pitch. I think it is the protocol and the organisation that cares about the kids on the pitch.

“It’s a great opportunity for this guy to enjoy the moment and to have a great situation, for these guys and for their families. I think the club now is aware and is going to do everything to repair the situation.

“Of course, it was a tough moment for him because he was like [looking around] and he didn’t know what to do. I feel so sorry because I didn’t see him. But, for sure, I think the club is working to try to repair it.”

Asked if his players should not have made sure the mascot was accompanied while on the pitch, Pochettino answered: “Always, in my career also, normally there are people on the touchline, the protocol and the organisation, to care about the kid. Because the players sometimes are focussed and saying ‘hello’ between each other and the referee, and focussed on the game. So sometimes that thing can happen, but there needs to be a protocol that you need to care about the kid.

“I don’t know if the responsibility is Liverpool or us. I don’t want to blame anyone, but I think we need to be careful about this type of situation. I don’t believe it is the players’ responsibility because players are so focused on the game and they are not thinking ‘oh, the guy is alone’. For sure, they were thinking people were coming to take the kid.”

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