Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that his side’s 5-1 defeat to Newcastle United on Sunday was his worst loss as a manager.
Spurs were in prime position to finish in second place in the Premier League, but two draws and two losses in their last four games allowed Arsenal to leapfrog over them and finish as runners-up behind champions Leicester City.
Pochettino believes that his players’ mentality was to blame for the loss and apologised to the club’s fans for his side’s dismal performance.
“I’m very disappointed; it was my worse game as a manager,” he told Sky Sports. “We spoke weeks before about never giving up, we need to learn and improve our mentality.
“Firstly I want to apologise to our fans, our supporters, it was a shame what happened on the pitch. I apologise to our families, the families who have suffered behind us, it is difficult now to arrive home and explain what has happened here.
“When you watch the game it wasn’t a tactical problem, a skill or technical problem, it was a mental problem. When you go on the pitch you need to give 100 per cent. We need to show more character.”
Tottenham were within touching distance of Leicester for most of the season, but a 2-2 draw with Chelsea on May 2 handed the Foxes their first-ever Premier League title.
Pochettino was less than impressed with the result of the Chelsea game and admitted that his side failed to recover mentally after that match.
“Yes [the Chelsea result was difficult to take], this was our challenge, to keep the mentality,” he said. “After Chelsea we showed a lot of weakness, against Southampton and today. This cannot repeat again.
“First of all, it is my responsibility, but I am disappointed. I think we need to analyse now, we are third in the table.
“But it’s not about the result, today the first 45 minutes was bad, and in the second we conceded three goals against 10 players.”