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Mauricio Pochettino expressed his frustration over Chelsea’s missed opportunities in the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool, describing the defeat as “painful.”

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Despite carving open five significant chances, defined by Opta as situations where a player should reasonably be expected to score, Chelsea failed to capitalize on them. Liverpool’s second-choice goalkeeper, Caoimhin Kelleher, played a pivotal role in thwarting Chelsea’s attempts. Pochettino emphasized the importance of scoring first in a final, lamenting Chelsea’s inability to convert their chances and conceding a last-gasp header from Virgil van Dijk.

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“We created four, five, six big chances, and we didn’t score,” sighed the visibly deflated coach. “In a game like today and in a final to score first, it is a big advantage. We didn’t score, and that is a bit of a problem. We conceded in the last minute, and it is difficult to react.”

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Kelleher’s strong save to deny Cole Palmer’s close-range effort and a sequence where the Irish goalkeeper and his defense blocked multiple Chelsea shots exemplified the missed opportunities. Pochettino acknowledged the need for clinical finishing in front of goal and congratulated Liverpool on their victory.

Reflecting on his quest for a maiden trophy in English football, Pochettino highlighted the painful experience of losing the 2015 EFL Cup final with Tottenham Hotspur and the 2019 Champions League final to Liverpool. Despite Sky Sports commentator Gary Neville’s critical label, “blue billion pound bottlejobs,” Pochettino pointed out the absence of key players due to injuries in his expensively assembled squad.

Encouraging his players to embrace the disappointment and learn from it, Pochettino stressed the importance of feeling the pain and acknowledged the closeness of winning the game after 90 minutes. Looking ahead to Chelsea’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Leeds United, he expressed the lingering pain of the defeat and the necessity to keep moving forward.

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