Premier League • England

Sources: Chelsea chiefs ’embarrassed’ by cup final loss as reasons now stacking up to wield Pochettino axe

Mauricio Pochettino Chelsea boss

Mauricio Pochettino remains under pressure at Chelsea

Mauricio Pochettino is now under serious pressure at Chelsea with TEAMtalk sources stating some of the club’s hierarchy were clearly upset and embarrassed by Sunday’s Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool.

Chelsea competed well over the 90 minutes at Wembley and were thwarted by outstanding backup Reds goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, but they failed to throw any real punches in extra-time to eventually lose out to Virgil van Dijk’s late winner.

Indeed, the manner of their performance in that extra 30 minutes led Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville to label Chelsea “Blue billion-pound bottle jobs”, after they had lost to an injury-hit Liverpool side who had five young prospects on the pitch for that vital period.

Pochettino hit back at those comments though, explaining how Chelsea also had a youthful side on the pitch for the showpiece event.

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The Argentine said: “I didn’t hear what he [Neville] said, but if you compare the age of the two groups, I think it is similar.

“I have a good relationship with Gary and I don’t know if that’s how I can take this opinion. But I respect his opinion. We made a few changes with [Conor] Gallagher and [Ben] Chilwell in extra time.

“But it is true we didn’t keep the energy of how we finished the second half. I don’t know how you can describe this situation. But I feel proud. I feel proud of the players, I think they made a big effort.

“We are a young team and it is nothing to compare with Liverpool just because they finished with also a few young players. He knows the dynamics are completely different. I think it’s not fair to talk in this way, if he said that.”

Chelsea bosses express growing Pochettino fears

However, it appears that some voices in the Chelsea hierarchy are growing tired of excuses and do not see Pochettino as the man who will make a major change to fortunes and results.

Indeed, many questions have been raised over Pochettino’s in-game management and his use of the current crop of players after such a huge spend under Todd Boehly.

And those questions do not just relate to the game on Sunday, with various other Chelsea performances also being heavily criticised.

Add in the fact that the manager market this summer will be huge, with a number of top coaches keen for a new challenge, and Pochettino’s time at Stamford Bridge could soon be drawing to a close.

The likes of Xabi Alonso and Sporting boss Ruben Amorim both look set to take on new roles at the end of the season, although Liverpool and Bayern Munich will have plenty to say over where they both likely end up.

But for Pochettino, a cup final defeat to add to Chelsea’s struggles in the Premier League this season – where they currently sit 11th a whopping 17 points off the Champions League places – appears to be edging him closer to the exit door.

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