Former Chelsea star says Gary Neville’s ‘bottle job’ criticism was ‘not harsh’ | Football

Mauricio Pochettino’s side came in for heavy criticism after the Carabao Cup final (Picture: Getty Images)

Florent Malouda does not believe Gary Neville was being overly harsh by labelling Chelsea ‘bottle jobs’ after their Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool on Sunday.

The Blues lost 1-0 after a Virgil van Dijk goal deep into extra-time, a narrow defeat but one they came in for stinging criticism for from Neville.

The Manchester United legend was on commentary for Sky Sports and labelled Mauricio Pochettino’s men ‘blue, billion-pound bottle jobs’ after they wilted and eventually lost in extra-time.

Neville had a problem with how Liverpool were struggling badly with injuries and brought on a string of academy products with almost no top level experience but seemed to strengthen, while Chelsea went from playing well in normal time to crumbling after 90 minutes.

Malouda, who won the Premier League and Champions League with Chelsea, was not ready to defend his old team from the criticism, feeling Neville was well within his rights to make the remarks.

‘When you lose you have to accept criticism, and I don’t think that was a harsh comment,’ Malouda exclusively told Ladbrokes Fanzone.

‘When you listen to Gary Neville talk about Man United, he can be harder on his own team. The difference between the money Chelsea have spent versus the results is unacceptable. I think it is good to understand that criticism comes from high expectations, and it is a good time for Chelsea to get back to the drawing board. What is happening now is simply not enough for a team like Chelsea.’

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Florent Malouda won the Premier League and Champions League with Chelsea (Picture: Getty Images)

The Frenchman is not calling for Pochettino to be replaced as manager, though, saying the club needs stability and that there are no great candidates to replace him anyway…other than Jose Mourinho.

‘I am not worried about Pochettino. I am worried about Chelsea,’ said the 43-year-old. ‘In terms of managers, when you look at the options available apart from Mourinho, there is nobody obvious for the job that could make a big difference.

‘I believe in stability, and I believe the club should support the manager and include him more in the process of picking players in the club strategy.

‘I definitely think we need to stick with Pochettino. Instead, we need to bring people on board now who can back him up and help him develop his ideas.’


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