London (AFP) – Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was so angry with the collapse of his side’s Premier League title challenge last season that he says he felt like killing his players.
Pochettino’s men were hot on the heels of eventual champions Leicester before a four-match winless run at the end of the season ended their hopes of a first English title since 1961.
Tottenham were thrashed 5-1 at Newcastle on the final day, meaning they missed a chance to finish above arch rivals Arsenal for the first time in two decades and Pochettino never had the chance to reprimand his players in May as much of the squad quickly left for Euro 2016.
The Argentinian was left to stew on the meltdown and it was only after Tottenham’s pre-season tour of Australia, when the whole squad reunited, that Pochettino was able to vent his frustration.
“I just told them, ‘If I have the opportunity to kill you then I kill everyone’,” Pochettino said.
“I wanted to kill all of them. And I did not have the opportunity to kill them. I kill myself too.
“What did they do wrong? A lot of things. Football is tactical, physical, technical, but it is also mental. More mental than many years ago.
“We need to know how to improve our mental state. That is very, very important. I think this was key in the last few games in last season.”