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Please stop – Chelsea boss defends Conor Gallagher after social media abuse

Mauricio Pochettino has defended Conor Gallagher after the midfielder received abuse on social media for failing to high-five a mascot.

Chelsea said in a statement that the “defamatory comments” made towards Gallagher were “completely unacceptable” and that the video had been taken out of context.

The incident occurred in the tunnel immediately ahead of kick-off when the Blues played Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with the 24-year-old seemingly not noticing that one of the mascots had held up his hand.

Club statement.

— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 3, 2024

Pochettino rejected any suggestion that the player acted intentionally, and condemned the online reaction to the incident.

“It has upset me so much,” he said. “No one wants to do this with this intention. When you are focusing on playing and starting the game, that sometimes can happen.

“People always try to find things to create a mess. I know Conor. Come on – there’s never that intention. Conor is a great kid and always is caring about everything. I hate how people feel free to abuse on social media.”

It is the second time this season that a Chelsea player has been subjected to abuse on social media, after captain Reece James spoke out earlier this year about unfair criticism he had received when he was ruled out with injury.

Pochettino has spoken out previously about the impact of online attacks against players, and re-emphasised the urgency in ridding the game of the problem.

“Today, abuse of people is so easy,” he said. “Whenever this type of thing happens, we (must not) give too much attention to the type of people that want to create it, to insult and abuse other people. Please stop.

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