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FA Cup | Fifth Round
Feb 28, 2024 at 7.30pm UK
Stamford Bridge
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Chelsea
3 - 2
Leeds

Jackson (15'), Mudryk (37'), Gallagher (90')
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Mauricio Pochettino: 'Chelsea EFL Cup final defeat should be put into context'

:Headline: Mauricio Pochettino: 'Chelsea EFL Cup final defeat should be put into context':
Head coach Mauricio Pochettino suggests that he disagrees with much of the criticism that has come Chelsea's way on the back of their 1-0 defeat to Liverpool in the EFL Cup final.
Sports Mole

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino has claimed that Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Liverpool in the EFL Cup final should "be put into context".

Although Liverpool sit at the top of the Premier League standings, Chelsea were regarded as marginal favourites courtesy of an array of first-team stars that were missing for the Merseyside giants.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Curtis Jones, Dominik Szoboszlai, Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez all sat out the showpiece event at Wembley Stadium.

However, Liverpool still came away with a narrow victory, with Virgil van Dijk scoring the winner in the closing stages of extra time to deny Chelsea a first trophy under Pochettino.

Since the defeat, Chelsea have been heavily criticised for failing to take advantage of the opportunity in front of them, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville going as far to describe them as "the billion-pound bottle jobs".

Pochettino disagrees with the assessment made by the former defender, feeling that it was "unfair", and the narrative would have changed had Chelsea had more luck on their side in the final third.

Not only did Chelsea have a goal ruled out for a marginal offside, Conor Gallagher hit the post, and a late goalmouth scramble somehow did not lead to a Chelsea opener.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Pochettino said: "We need to put it all in context. Always I respect the opinion of every pundit. Gary, I have a very good relationship with him. Sometimes it can be unfair in my opinion and in that case I think it is unfair.

"After 90 minutes, we were the better side and we deserved to win. We were not clinical enough and then you always need some luck to score the goal and win the game.

"If we won the game after 90 minutes, then everyone would be talking in a different way today."

Earlier in the media briefing, Pochettino added, speaking on Wednesday's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Leeds United: "Always when you lose a final, it's not easy to recover. But I am so happy because they are really focused, they move forward.

"If you ask the players today if they want to be involved tomorrow in the game. Disappointed because we cannot win the Carabao Cup but we need to move on and compete tomorrow. I'm happy because they react well and they are in a very positive moment."

As well as having no injured players in line to return to the squad against the in-form Championship side, Christopher Nkunku has also been ruled out having sustained an issue during Sunday's game that will keep him sidelined until after the March international break. body check tags ::

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