Thursday 22 March 2018

Tough love for Spurs players

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: PA
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: PA

Matt Law

Mauricio Pochettino recalls the moment during his playing days when he was on the receiving end of some tough love from his great mentor Marcelo Bielsa.

And Pochettino is hoping his Tottenham players can react in a similar fashion after he decided to dish out a reality check of his own this week. He ripped into his team at half-time in the Champions League defeat by Monaco and later accused them of lacking passion.

He stuck to his guns after watching three replays of the match and revealed he has been unhappy with the way his team have started all of their matches this season, including the win against Stoke.

Pochettino wants to see a reaction tomorrow against Sunderland after he followed the example of Bielsa. Flushed with pride at being heralded as the best central defender in La Liga while at Espanyol, Pochettino was asked to assess his form by Bielsa.

"In my head I was a nine or a 10, but I decided to be humble and say maybe a seven or eight," said Pochettino. "He said to me 'you were s***' and my face was like this [shocked]. He said 'because of this, this and this' and showed me why, and said 'if you perform like this then you cannot play for me and you cannot play for the national team'.

"It was tough for me. I drove to my house crying but, after time, I recognised it was true. I was s***. And then I improved, I played for Argentina in the World Cup and I got a big offer from PSG to buy me. When I believed I was the star man, maybe from the news or the fans, this big offer never arrived.

"I was a person that liked the reality, that the manager never lied to me. If I was s***, I was s***. But I needed to know sometimes. When you are young, you need to know the reality because when you are in your bubble, you believe that always all you do is right. Sometimes you need people who say 'hey, come on, what happened with you?'."

Following last season's title challenge, Pochettino accepts an element of complacency may have crept into the minds of his players.

"It is difficult to understand why in every game we have some period in the first-half that is difficult to get the pace of the game and to manage and handle the game like we normally used to do," added Pochettino. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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