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Friday, April 19, 2024

Gary Neville doubles down on Chelsea ‘billion-pound bottlejobs’ comments –

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has refused to take back calling Chelsea ‘billion-pound bottlejobs’ during Sunday’s Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool.

The Blues were beaten in extra-time at Wembley despite Jurgen Klopp having to field several teenage players and academy products with little first-team experience. Chelsea, who have spent over £1bn on transfers since BlueCo took over in 2022, had dominated the second half of normal time before wilting in the added 30 minutes.

On Sky Sports’ broadcast of the game, Neville – who was joining Peter Drury and Jamie Carragher on commentary – labelled Chelsea ‘billion-pound bottlejobs’ and the statement went viral.

Chelsea spurned the chance to win silverware / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Neville appeared on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football a day after the final and was asked to clarify his comments. While he admitted he may have gone a little over the top, he did not take back his already iconic line or the sentiment behind it.

“I feel bad now!” Neville began. “No, look, I’m not going to sit here and say it was an instinctive commentary moment…I mean, it was instinctive because I didn’t know what was going to happen in extra-time.

“But Peter did about 35 seconds after the goal and Carra did about 25 seconds and I was getting angrier.

“If you hear my commentary during extra-time, I was getting angrier with Chelsea from the first minute of extra-time until two minutes to go because I could smell the fear in Chelsea from the very first minute of extra-time when I said: ‘Why are they sitting off them? Why are they letting these young lads grow?’, and then Jurgen Klopp started to grow.

“If you remember, there was a chorus, a song, that Liverpool fans were singing because they could smell the blood, they could smell the fear in those blue shirts.

“I got to half-time of extra-time and I said: ‘somehow, Mauricio Pochettino and all those players have got to work out that if they got into this position at the start of the season and told themselves they’ve got 15 minutes against a Liverpool team that have only got two players that would make their starting XI normally, that they would snap their hand off!’

“Grab this opportunity, don’t have regrets! Just from a playing point of view, the idea of a team not seizing the day, seizing the moment, grabbing the opportunity, all those things we say to each other in lives as young people, that we want a team to grab this moment. Chelsea shrunk.

“I used the word ‘shrunk’ and maybe ‘bottle’ is a very strong word, but playing with absolute fear, froze, whatever you want to call it, that’s what we saw in extra-time.

“Ultimately, I don’t want that tag to stick with them because the reality is that there are a lot of talented young players there who may go on.”

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