How Pochettino retaliated when Rickie Lambert asked him to make training easier

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An admirer of the 'high press' philosophy, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is renowned for making his teams the fittest in the league.

The Argentine coach trains his players to the max and former Southampton striker Rickie Lambert found that out the hard way.

Pochettino took charge at St. Mary's in January 2013 and spent 18 months on the South Coast before joining Spurs.

He replaced Nigel Adkins at Southampton and his training regime was undoubtedly far more intense than his predecessor.

Lambert, 35, retired from professional football last week and recounted a brilliant story in which he asked Pochettino to go a little easier on the lads.

“It wasn’t the [training on] Fridays that was a shock, it was the Mondays when I’d played 90 minutes [at the weekend],” Lambert told BBC Radio Solent.

“We would come in and to everyone else it was just a three-quarter kind of pace, like a jog to three-quarter pace, we used to do 12 horseshoes.

“But to me it was three-quarters and above, I was like ‘what on earth is going in here’ I just could not cope.

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“I thought, it was me and Jos Hooiveld who actually had the bottle to go into his room and pull him to one side, very respectfully.

“I said ‘Mauricio listen, I understand what you’re trying to do but I just think you’re pushing us too much on a Monday and you need to calm it down, we’re not used to it so maybe build it up a bit later.’

“Mauricio was dead polite he said ‘yes, that’s fine I understand’ – we shook hands, I went out and we went back to the lads made up thinking ‘yep, just done it for you boys, next Monday gonna be sorted.

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“So, played the game [the next weekend], 90 minutes again, come in Monday, not only did we do 12, we did 24 runs – 24 runs and I just knew, I was running around laughing and almost crying and I knew what he was doing, he was breaking me and he did, he broke me.”

Lambert left Southampton for Liverpool in the summer of 2014 but his career nosedived at that very point.

Pochettino has instilled a similar focus at Tottenham and his youthful, energetic team have challenged for the Premier League title in each of the last two seasons.

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