Pochettino hits out at social abuse of Gallagher

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has hit out at social media trolls after admitting he had been left “upset” by criticism of Conor Gallagher‘s behaviour prior to Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Burnley.

Footage from the Stamford Bridge tunnel before the game subsequently circulated online showing Gallagher accidentally blanking a high-five from a Black mascot after acknowledging a white mascot, leading to accusations online of racism.

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Chelsea subsequently released a statement in which they claimed the clip had “been taken considerably out of context,” before adding: “The subsequent level of abuse and defamatory comments directed towards Conor Gallagher is completely unacceptable.

“We are proud to be a diverse, inclusive club where people from all cultures, communities and identities feel welcome.”

Pochettino addressed media on Wednesday ahead of Chelsea’s home game against Manchester United and launched an impassioned defence of his midfielder.

“That has upset me so much because no one wants to do something like this with this intention,” he said.

“He was so wary of too many videos, photography and pictures about if he was really aware of both mascots. When you play football, when you are there and you are focusing on too many things, you focus to play, to start the game, that sometimes can happen.

“But I think people want to abuse people. People always try to find things to create a mess and to abuse the people that, if you know … I know Conor. I know the people that are involved here in Chelsea. I can talk for the people that I know and come on, never is that intention. Conor is a great, great kid and is always caring about everything.

“I hate when the people feel free to abuse on social media in things like this. You don’t believe that we need to stop these types of things? It’s like today if to abuse the people is so easy and then it is to pay attention of that when it never happened.

“To give too much attention to the people who want to create this type of thing, this mess, and to insult and to abuse other people, please stop. I think we are all responsible for that. How is it possible that the intention of Conor is to ignore a mascot? Come on.

“And then, come on, it makes me very sad because I know Conor and he does not deserve to be abused.

“No one deserves to be abused but him, come on, knowing him… I am seeing too many things happening not only in England but the rest of the world. Our responsibility altogether is to try to ignore these type of things and the people who try to create this type of things never help our lives.

“Of course, the game that we are involved in, football, the people that come, does not deserve to pay attention. We need to keep moving and for me it is about to support Conor, to support all the people that sometimes get abused.”

Elaborating further on the issue, Pochettino, who has 1.1 million followers on Instagram, added: “The problem with social media today it is like a compulsory thing if you want to communicate with your fans and it is something that measures your value, depending on the followers you have on Twitter, X, Instagram, Facebook, I don’t know.

“These type of platforms that put you in a value in front of society, That is the problem because we are seeing so many things that are wrong in society.

“We are a little bit responsible also. We open the door, all the documentaries that people can see. But what do we want to see? We want to see when they are discussing, when you are fighting but never things that are good, happy things. No, find the wrong things.

“That is the society that we are all involved and we can blame no one. We need to accept it is like this but be very careful in the way that we behave and of course to pay more attention to these type of things that can damage your image, and the people can see you in a way that you are not real. Even when we want cheat the people.

“If I want to be popular, I can talk in a different way or I can do things with your complicity, ‘oh, looks good Pochettino, no?’ But when the day ends, when I close this door, I am the same or behave different? Here I am always smiling but there I am the worst guy in the world.”

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