Search icon


29th Feb 2024

Gary Neville doubles down on “bottle job” line after hearing Mauricio Pochettino comments

Lee Costello

‘Should I say it, is it too strong?’

Gary Neville famously described Chelsea as “billion-pound bottle jobs” after losing to a Liverpool team full of academy players in the Carabao Cup final.

Virgil van Dijk scored the winner late in extra time, but due to Liverpool’s long list of injuries, three young academy players under the age of 20, and with little to no first team experience were all on he field.

Speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, the former Man United star admits that he initially thought he was too harsh, but has now doubled down on his comments.

“I got progressively angrier during extra time with Chelsea, and I thought to myself, initially I was going to use Boehly’s name, but I didn’t want to personalise it.‌ Then I thought, ‘Should I say it, is it too strong?’

“I was thinking that as I said it and sometimes when you think that you might think that it’s a reason not to say it, but I felt as though it needed to be said, it’s a harsh line.

“After the game I went to the producer and asked whether it was harsh. He said it might be a touch harsh, but he said, ‘We’re on television, in entertainment and it’s one of the biggest moments this season, last minute goal.’

“And secondly, he asked ‘Did you think they bottled it?’ I said that they froze in extra time, there is no doubt that they were playing with fear and froze.‌

“I was actually going to do a roll back on my podcast, the day after, and say that I shouldn’t have probably used that word ‘bottle,’ but when I heard that Mauricio thought the team were playing for penalties, I thought that it was the epitome of freezing.

“When I think of it today, people say it’s a great line, but I don’t think of it as a great line, I don’t feel proud about it. I remember my David Luiz comment 10 years ago, and I regret that because it was personal. I don’t personalise a line anymore. Bottle doesn’t mean cowardness, they just froze on the day.

“We froze in games sometimes, in Champions League semi-finals. Sometimes you do freeze – Manchester United, the year before they won the Premier League title, against Leeds they bottled the run in. We bottled the run-in, when we were without Roy (Keane) in 1998, against Arsenal – we’ve all bottled run-ins.”

Related links:

Paul Pogba receives lengthy ban after failed drug test, according to reports

Morgan Gibbs-White deletes Instagram post following FA Cup defeat to Man United

Only five Man United players have avoided injury this season