Mauricio Pochettino cancelled Tottenham training so he could bring players out on the town
When wins are proving hard to come by, how do you stop the rot? Extra training sessions? Drilling tactics into the minds of players until they are numb?
These are just two of the more common methods employed by Premier League managers, but Mauricio Pochettino, similar to what he has done with his Tottenham philosophy for much of this season, opted for a different method to the norm.
“Wednesday we had a dinner in a restaurant in London with all the staff and players that I invite, of course. I paid the bill at the end!” Pochettino said on Thursday. “That is true, the one time that I was invited!”
Although it wasn’t quite Argentine steak – he opted to take the squad for Spanish and Australian instead – the wine from his home country, which Pochettino insisted was the best in the world, was flowing throughout as the players took the opportunity for a rare bonding session away from the pitch.
“Yeah, we always try to find the way to stay together out of the training ground because it is so different, all that happens is so different. But it is so difficult because here in England, it's difficult to find a day or night altogether.
“It's such a busy schedule that we have, we play every 2-3 days and then all are away for international break. Yesterday was a very good day to stay altogether outside and laugh and share in a different atmosphere.”
After a third consecutive game at Wembley without a win, Pochettino stressed the importance of creating an atmosphere where players are willing to run themselves into the ground for each other – but rejected the suggestion he would take them to McDonald’s to strengthen that bond.
“No, no, no [not McDonald’s]. When I pay, I pay good! Good restaurant, good food, good wine,” he added. “You need time to create a good dynamic. Not only tactics but outside too.
“That is important because you prefer to say, 'tactical here in the morning or you prefer to go last night and put all the staff, the players and the chairman too in a restaurant’.
“That is tactics too. It is so important, just as it is important to work on the pitch. To know better in between them, to speak in a different way. That creates links between them, emotion.
“And when you must fight in a competition, there's willingness to help more your teammates and care more for your teammates and care more for the gaffer that pays the bill! It's so important and we need time to engage everything, to have different alternatives to play and try to win.
“In the end, that's the principle objective.”