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Frank Leboeuf exclusive on Cup final defeat: Poch not Chelsea's problem; Boehly doesn't understand football

Criticism has been harsh towards Chelsea's players who succumbed to an injury-ravaged Liverpool side Sunday evening in the Carabao Cup final. One famous pundit called them out as "billion-pound bottlejobs" which Chelsea manager Mauricio Pocchetino took umbrage with. A little too harsh perhaps?

"It is only fair you get some criticism when you spend one billion and you have that sort of result. On top of being 11th in the Premier League," says Chelsea great Frank Leboeuf in a tete-a-tete with Nevertheless, Chelsea can take something positive from the final, according to Leboeuf.

"They only lost in the last minute. and the defence was good. They were in danger of conceding, but they managed well without the experience of Thiago Silva. Even in defeat you learn something, and you get something out of it.

"It's called experience, and being slapped in the face is sometimes better than to have a handshake. You don't learn anything from success, you're just happy with it. With defeats, your ego is touched," adds the man who knows a thing or two about success, having been part of the World Cup winning French squad in 1998. That was a team full of strong characters, just like many a Chelsea side has had over the years, but which seems to be lacking these days.

"They're too young, they just got out of the academy. It's like a nursery of fantastic players, but they don't know what to do. And they need more than one leader to tell them which way to move and stick together when something goes wrong," Leboeuf continues while pointing to Enzo Fernandez as someone who could pick up the baton.

"He's a world champion, so you want to believe him, but listen, when Thierry Henry was 20 years old and a World Champion with Arsenal, he wasn't listened to because they had other players like Martin Keown and Tony Adams who had more experience. Imagine Thierry Henry as a 20-year-old World Champion in the middle of this Chelsea team. It would have no effect," Leboeuf believes, while offering a clear take on whether Mauricio Pochettino is the right manager for Chelsea.

"Nobody can be the right manager for Chelsea right now. Is it going to be good within maybe three, four, five years? We don't know. So Pochettino does what he can, and I think he does pretty well, but he can't bring experience to the players. They only get that experience from playing but it's too soon to make a statement about that team because it hasn't been built to win stuff right now. It's impossible, it's a trading business company," Leboeuf says in a scathing criticism of Todd Boehly's reign so far.

A criticism he also aired before the final, when stating "you could even put Pep Guardiola in there, and I don't think he would have done anything special with this Chelsea team".

"When you think football is just about business, you're wrong. It's not the way I think about football. You have fans to please. It's what we love. It's part of our culture. And if you don't understand our culture and what we want, you're wrong," Leboeuf states before returning to "Poch".

"I really wish for him to win something. He lost the League Cup and the Champions League (with Tottenham) and now this. I really think he's a good guy working hard for the club, but it's like he's always at the wrong club at the wrong time. But what he does has to be respected, definitely."

Leboeuf won three Cup finals during his spell at Chelsea while also succeeding in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, and he doesn't think it could turn into a psychological problem for Pochettino to lose another final.

"A month ago, who would have thought that Chelsea would lose only in the last minute of extra-time against Liverpool, when they'd just been completely hammered at Anfield? The progression is there. The evolution of the game is there. But if you don't have a striker, and don't have somebody who can add goals, well…

"Even Manchester City went in for a striker and they had just won the Premier League and everything. Because it makes a difference," says Leboeuf who thinks goals were the one thing Chelsea could have done differently against Liverpool.

"I think, they started to get a bit scared, and that's explainable since they have no experience, they're still young players. Liverpool got better and better during the game and at a certain point, you're going to be in danger if you don't score. That's football, you have to score goals."

- Frank Leboeuf was speaking to on behalf of BetVictor

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Jacob Hansen


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