Tottenham Hotspur duo Harry Kane and Ryan Mason have struggled for form in recent weeks.
The two players the Argentine coach was referring to are his England internationals Harry Kane and midfielder Ryan Mason, arguably the two standout performers at White Hart Lane this season.
The Lilywhites have looked lethargic, prompting questions about their players’ fitness and mental state following a long, taxing season which has included a League Cup final and a Europa League run.
Speaking ahead of his side’s clash at Newcastle United, Argentine boss Pochettino says the international break is to blame and has had an adverse effect on his players who returned lacking in energy.
“When players get their first call-up, they try to show they are good enough and try to impress the national manager, and because they are over-motivated they expend a lot of energy,” Pochettino explained.
“When you come back to the team, the consequence is that for two or three weeks you are a little bit down. It is normal and this happened at Southampton too.”
Is Tottenham’s season fizzling out?
Following their League Cup final defeat, attentions soon turned to challenging for a top four spot but that now appears out of reach for Spurs, resulting in a possible lack in motivation.
The race to finish in the Europa League isn’t half as motivating as the challenge of a top four spot, but Pochettino’s men find themselves in that scenario and they need to keep going.
The trip to St. James’ Park is a big opportunity for the White Hart Lane side to claim a morale-boosting victory, and for star striker Harry Kane it's an opportunity to reach 20 Premier League goals for the season.