Mauricio Pochettino kicked off Tottenham’s pre-season with a rollicking after his side’s title challenge collapsed last term.
Spurs were hammered 5-1 at Newcastle on the final day of the campaign, which saw them finish third in the Premier League table – below arch rivals Arsenal – but Pochettino never had the chance to reprimand his players in May as much of the squad quickly left for Euro 2016.
Instead, the Argentinian was left to stew on the defeat and it was only after the club’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.”
Tottenham’s young and hungry players were a key asset in the team’s surprise title challenge, but their lack of experience appeared to cost them when the pressure really mounted.
Spurs have so far resisted the temptation to add seniority in terms of signings – Victor Wanyama and Vincent Janssen are 25 and 22, respectively – but Pochettino hopes valuable lessons have been learned.
“What did they do wrong? A lot of things,” Pochettino said.
“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.
“To move on the team, to achieve another level, it is here that we need to improve.”