Mauricio Pochettino believes the Chelsea project is still working, despite the chastening Carabao Cup final loss to Liverpool on Sunday.

Virgil Van Dijk's 118th-minute header condemned The Blues to their sixth successive domestic final defeat and their third in a row to Jurgen Klopp's side.

The west-London outfit have exceeded £1B in transfer fees since Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital took control of the club in May 2022 and remain with nothing to show for it.

But the 51-year-old says his side are in a good way and defeat is part of the process.

He said: "It depends on your view and your opinion. We are in a good way, in the moment, in the process, that is normal to be. Then you can call 'successful', no? Being in a final and losing? Maybe you can say it's disastrous, good or not good. That depends on how you judge.

"I back my players and I am always going to back my players. Of course that is not the same to judge a player in this project, the Chelsea project, than another place. We need to accept sometimes the criticism because we are Chelsea. This project is different to another club."

Should Chelsea fail to win the FA Cup this season, it would mark the first time in 20 years the club has gone consecutive seasons without silverware.

The Argentinian, who managed Tottenham for five years before taking the reigns at Stamford Bridge, is still yet to win a trophy in England.

"Of course we are so disappointed," the manager added. "At Chelsea it is about to win but this project is about to win. 

. (Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
. (Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

"Liverpool, I think, spent four years and Klopp didn't win a title and he was given the support by the club and to keep going, changing players, changing the way to play. Now, they are getting what they deserve because of that.

"For us, after seven months, eight months, to get to the final is a massive achievement in this project because we cannot say nothing different. It was the objective to be in the final, okay, we feel the pain because when you arrive to the final it is about to win, but we were there.

"Too many young players sometimes I think showed that it was their first final. They had 90, 120 minutes and they know now what it is like to play a final in front of 90,000 people and you can see the team was in the first 15 or 20 minutes was a little bit nervous. It is always pressure to play in a final. But now I think these players are going to be much better."

  • 'We deserved to win'

Gary Neville labelled Chelsea 'billion pound bottlejobs' on Sky Sports as The Blues hit their season nadir.

They recorded 2.28 expected goals - the highest goalless tally in a Carabao Cup final since records began - and were made to rue their profligacy deep into extra-time.

But Pochettino says Neville's remarks are harsh, claiming his side outpeformed Liverpool.

He said: "Look, we need to put it all in context; I need to explain a little bit the situation.

"Gary [Neville], I have a very good relationship with him. But that does not mean sometimes it can't be unfair under my opinion. In this case, I do not think it is fair, the comment, but of course he tried to yesterday to make a little bit soft the comment.

"After 90 minutes, we were the better side and we deserved to win. Last 10 or 15 minutes, we created too many chances to score. We were not clinical enough and I think you always need some luck to score the goal and win the game."

(Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)