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  • By Matthew Ferris at Cobham training ground

Chelsea boss Pochettino warns officials to treat both clubs equally in EFL Cup final on Sunday at Wembley


Mauricio Pochettino Picture: Matthew Ferris
Mauricio Pochettino Picture: Matthew Ferris

By Matthew Ferris at Cobham


Mauricio Pochettino has urged the officials for Chelsea’s League Cup Final against Liverpool on Sunday “not to feel the pressure” from the footballing world to give Jurgen Klopp the perfect ending to his reign as manager when they make key refereeing decisions in the game.

The Argentine gave an incredibly open and honest press conference, and made it abundantly clear that he feels there is an overwhelming amount of pressure from everyone involved in football to ensure the Merseyside club are successful in Klopp’s final few months.

He said: “When we played Liverpool, not one key decision was for us; two penalties were not given, 12 50/50’s were always for another colour – red.

“I want to be treated in a fair way. Of course, we are going to celebrate [them].

"Liverpool are amazing, and Klopp is one of the best coaches in the world, but I think after my last experience playing there, what I want at Wembley is to go there and not to feel the pressure from people around, you understand what I am saying.”

In a Jose Mourinho-like attack on the officials, Pochettino referred back to the two contentious penalty decisions at Anfield last month and said: “The first decision after five minutes, that was a clear penalty and the second half that was a penalty on Nkunku, and after you see VAR interfering with many situations that are similar and giving a penalty.

“Yes, we are Chelsea, we need to go there and compete with the same tools, and of course if they are better, well done, congratulate them, but [for the referees] being fair in every decision.

“The pressure is not to be part of the…you know.”

After refusing to blame the Anfield defeat on the decisions in the game’s immediate aftermath, since then, Pochettino has since brought it up on countless occasions and some will believe that he has every right to.

Excluding the penalty incidents, some other in-game decisions were laughably amateur, and because of this it is of no surprise that Pochettino does not want to experience a repeat of this on Sunday.

The media furore around Klopp’s departure has, inevitably, already started to gain considerable traction, and until their final game has been played, the narrative of the perfect finale for the German will be at the forefront of the English media’s stories.

Perhaps that is why Pochettino felt the need to reiterate the fact that it is crucial for the officials to “give and to see the things for both clubs in the same way”.

However, he insisted that Chelsea are not there to spoil the party, and that he wants to win “because of Chelsea” and that he is feeling relaxed about the final itself.

“I think I’m 51 years old and yes more experienced, {I had a] good experience in Paris and also played in finals, I think the approach is that we are really calm and relaxed, of course we are going to work and arrive in the right moment to play, to feel the adrenaline.

“We are going to arrive in a very good condition to challenge Liverpool.”

Unlike Thomas Tuchel with his lucky shoes, Pochettino does not have any lucky charms that he is going to use on Sunday, and simply replied jokingly with the fact he had Kylian Mbappe at his disposal in his finals with PSG.

“[In] final’s football belongs to the players, players are the most important part of the game - we are not so important.

“I think when [we] arrive in this type of moment, for the final it’s about to have the players in the best condition, in good form and with full energy and the capacity to compete at their best, that is the key factor.”

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