Mauricio Pochettino cannot fathom why Liverpool received so little criticism following their defeat against Arsenal, especially in light of the reaction to Chelsea’s heavy loss at Anfield three days earlier.
The Argentine is battling to save his job at Stamford Bridge following back-to-back losses against the Reds and Wolves where on both occasions Chelsea conceded four goals.
While Sunday’s reverse against Wolves on home turf represented a shock given Chelsea’s improved recent record at home, the Liverpool loss was arguably the more concerning given it highlighted the seismic gap in class that now exists between the two rival clubs.
Liverpool, themselves, were handed a sobering dose of reality at the Emirates, meanwhile, after two defensive errors compounded a 3-1 defeat that opened up the Premier League title race once again.
Pochettino, however, speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s FA Cup tie against Aston Villa, is struggling to comprehend why two such similar results have been treated so differently.
‘When the expectation is different to the reality, it’s difficult,’ said the under-fire Chelsea manager.
‘When we lost to Liverpool, it was ‘massive fail, Chelsea are so bad’. When Liverpool lost to Arsenal, I heard nothing – it was a similar result.’
Pochettino also rejected suggestions he said Chelsea’s players are not good enough, claiming his words following Sunday’s defeat by Wolves were taken out of context.
Immediately after a result that left his team in the bottom half of the table, Pochettino appeared to say he did not have the squad to significantly remedy the club’s plight.
Chelsea were booed off at half-time and again at the final whistle, with audible anger directed against both the players and Pochettino personally, while the name of former owner Roman Abramovich could also be heard being sung.
A visibly emotional Pochettino said at the time he understood supporters’ fury in the aftermath of a 10th league defeat in the 23 games of his tenure, and intimated neither he nor the team have been good enough this season.
He has now, before Wednesday’s FA Cup replay at Aston Villa, moved to clarify his position, criticising reports which he felt deliberately took his words not in the spirit in which they were meant.
‘Now (when) I’m watching TV and media, some guys take advantage of some situations to take my words out of context,” he said. “That question came from my post-match press conference – are the players good enough to be in the top four or top six? I said, ‘today, we were not good enough, and me the first’.
‘Then they said, ‘Pochettino said the players aren’t good enough’. What? It’s taking it out of context, my words. In that game, we were not good enough. I don’t want to hide the reality.
‘Be careful. Some people take advantage, when we lose a game, to say things that never appeared in my mouth. That upset me a little bit.
‘The most difficult thing is to explain to my wife. ‘Why did you say the players are not good enough?’ I never said that. You know what I had to do last time? To show her the press conference. That is not a joke. It is the reality we live in.’