Ahead of Tottenham’s first Premier League fixture of the 2016/17 campaign, an away day visit it Goodison Park, Mauricio Pochettino has spoken candidly on his concerns over the mentality of his squad.
The manager he also voiced initial concerns of the effect that the heartbreak of the summer’s European Championship may have had on the team with many Tottenham players starring in the tournament.
“That was our worry as a coaching staff – how they would assimilate the situation,” Pochettino said. “But it is incredible how they behave. They have completely forgotten the Euros. It will have no impact for them. They are very happy to be back here training together, with unbelievable energy.
“Hugo, for example, was very close to winning a very important trophy and we need to use that [as motivation] – not to feel disappointed or angry. Hugo has come back in a very good way, like all of the international players. It is that that has surprised us, because we don’t need to work too much [on lifting them].”
Pochettino has also admitted to a voicing his dissatisfaction at the team’s end of season collapse that saw the team fall apart in a humiliating 5-1 defeated to relegated Newcastle.
“Maybe, yes, I am the first manager to start pre-season with a rollicking but it’s important to take something from every experience. You always need to find the positives. When we came back from Australia, we talked a little bit [about Newcastle].
“Always, it is important to finish. They needed to hear from the manager about how I felt after the game, and after the season, because there was no time to share then, I explained my point of view and it was a very good meeting.”
The manager also emphasised the importance of a new state of mental resilience as many of his squad feature in what will be their inaugural Champions League campaigns.
“We need to know how to improve our mental state,” Pochettino said. “This was key in the last few games of last season. It is not tactical, it is not philosophical because, after two years, we know very well how we need to play. It is in our heads that we need to improve.
“Sometimes we were very focused and, at other times, it was like a war. We need to be focused on our game and not on other things. Football is about experience and learning to improve. Our team today is more mature than last season.”
For more on Pochettino’s thoughts ahead of his Everton game watch his pre-match press conference here.
Written by Joe Thomas