Chelsea need to feel pain of cup loss – Pochettino

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Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino emphasizes that his team must “acknowledge the pain” following their defeat in the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley.

Liverpool’s captain, Virgil van Dijk, netted the decisive goal for the Reds, securing victory with only two minutes remaining in extra time.

“They need to feel the pain,” Pochettino said.

“We played for a trophy we didn’t get. Now it’s the same, what can you tell me to feel better? Nothing.”

Chelsea may rue a significant missed opportunity to claim silverware against a Liverpool side depleted by injuries to Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez, and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Throughout the match, the Blues created numerous clear-cut chances, with Cole Palmer denied by an outstanding save from Caoimhin Kelleher, followed by Conor Gallagher hitting the post and later having another good opportunity saved by Kelleher.

Approaching the end of normal time, Chelsea somehow failed to convert a scramble in the Liverpool box, involving Christopher Nkunku, Gallagher, and Malo Gusto, missing a chance to take the lead.

With this defeat, Chelsea have now suffered six consecutive losses in Wembley finals, three of which were against Liverpool. This result also extends Mauricio Pochettino’s quest for his first trophy in England.

“We are very competitive and now we need to move forward,” he added.

“They [the players] need to feel the pain like us. They need to realise that we need to work more, do better things. We need to improve and compete in this level against a side that in the last five, six, seven years has competed for big things.

“It’s about to arrive here first and then feel what it means to play for a big trophy. I remember after three, four years they lose the Champions League, they lose the Europa League.

“They keep believing and moving in the project and in the next season stronger until they get what they wanted.

“That is a good example, Liverpool. We want to challenge a team like Liverpool. It is not to be frustrated today because we didn’t get the trophy. We need to keep believing as that is the most important thing.”

Chelsea finished the 90 minutes stronger than Liverpool but seemed to sit back during extra time. In his post-match press conference Pochettino said: “I think the team started to feel that penalties might be good for us”.

Gary Neville, speaking on the Sky Sports coverage of the match, said Chelsea “bottled” their chance to win a trophy as Liverpool were without so many key players and introduced a number of academy graduates.

Pochettino added: “I think if you compare the age of the two groups it’s similar. I have a good relationship with Gary. I don’t know how I can take this opinion but I respect his opinion.

“We made a few changes like Gallagher and Chilwell in extra time. It is true we didn’t keep the energy how we finished the second half.

“I don’t know how you can describe this situation. I feel proud of the players. I think they made a big effort.

“We are a young team and nothing to compare with Liverpool because they finish with also a few young players. It is impossible to compare.

“He [Neville] knows that the dynamics are completely different. I think it is not fair to talk in this way. We are going to keep believing in this project and see what we can do in the future.”