'I feel bad' - Gary Neville responds as Man Utd legend criticised by Gary Lineker for 'harsh' Chelsea comment

'I feel bad' - Gary Neville responds as Man Utd legend criticised by Gary Lineker for 'harsh' Chelsea comment

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up as Gary Neville feels bad for Chelsea comment

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 27/02/2024

- 07:30

Updated: 27/02/2024

- 09:33

The pundit has opened up on the remark which has gone viral since the weekend

Gary Neville says he 'feels bad' for what he now admits was a 'harsh' comment saying that Chelsea bottled Sunday's Carabao Cup final against Liverpool.

The pundit was criticised by the likes of Gary Lineker after he called Mauricio Pochettino's side the 'blue billion-pound bottlejobs'.

Chelsea's match with Liverpool at Wembley was goalless when it went to extra-time after the Blues ended the 90 minutes on top.

But they were not able to take advantage of Liverpool's severely depleted side and Virgil van Dijk popped up with the winner with two minutes remaining.

Gary Neville and Gary Lineker

Gary Neville faced criticism from the likes of Gary Lineker for his comment on Chelsea

Sky Sports/YouTube

Neville, on co-commentary for Sky Sports, hit Chelsea with his brutal remark in the aftermath of Van Dijk's goal.

It drew a mixed reaction among the football fraternity but many, including Lineker, claimed it was over the top.

The BBC presenter said on the Rest is Football podcast: "I thought it was a bit strong. They could have easily won that game.

"I thought Cole Palmer could have won the game but it was a brilliant save from [Caoimhin] Kelleher."

Neville spoke publicly for the first time on Monday Night Football and admitted he now 'feels bad'.

He also explained why he made the comment, insisting Chelsea's approach in extra-time was not one of a team who wanted to win.

Neville said: "I feel bad now. I'm not going to sit here and say it was an instinctive commentary moment. It was instinctive because I didn't know what was going to happen in extra-time.

"But Peter [Drury] did about 35 seconds after the goal, Carra [Jamie Carragher] did about 25 seconds and I was getting angrier.

"If you hear my commentary during the extra-time, I was getting angrier with Chelsea from the first minute of extra-time to 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?' Carra's just mentioned it.

"Then Jurgen Klopp started to grow. I remember there was a chorus, a song, that Liverpool fans were singing for about five minutes because they could smell the blood and the fear in those blue shirts.

"And I got to half-time of extra-time and I said that somehow Mauricio Pochettino or 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 side who've only got two players who would make their starting XI normally, which are [Luis] Diaz and Van Dijk, that they would snap their hand off, grab this opportunity, don't have regrets.


Gary Neville

Gary Neville says he feels bad for calling Chelsea bottlejobs

Sky Sports

"I was just [coming from] a playing point of view, not to have regrets of a team not seizing the day and the moment, grabbing the opportunity. Chelsea shrunk – and I use 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 yesterday."

Neville was actually impressed with how Chelsea played in normal time, with the Blues passing up many chances in front of goal.

And he admits in hindsight that his 'bottlejobs' comment may have been a bit hash.

Mauricio Pochettino

Chelsea suffered a late loss in Sunday's Carabao Cup final


Neville added: "I'm not going to say words like 'man up'. But there's an element here of this is football at the highest level, where you've got to perform under scrutiny.

"And actually I was in a position at the end of the game where I thought it is a harsh word, bottled, and I was only referring to the last 30 minutes of the match, because I thought Chelsea did quite well in the first 90 minutes.

"But then I heard afterwards that Mauricio Pochettino said he felt like his team were playing for penalties, it almost cemented the thought in my mind that they did freeze.

"Because whoever, in a team that is playing against such a weakened Liverpool side, with three kids on the pitch who to be fair found things very difficult in the final minutes of normal time, why did they do what they did?"

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