Former Southampton striker Rickie Lambert has told Radio Solent that Mauricio Pochettino 'almost made him cry' with his rigorous fitness drills after joining the South-Coast club in 2013.
Pochettino's Tottenham Hotspur side are famed for their relentless off-the-ball pressing and Lambert has offered an insight into how the Argentine conditions his troops to reach such impressive levels of fitness.
The 45-year-old transformed Southampton from a newly-promoted Premier League side into an established team in the top flight during his 18-month spell at St Mary's.
The Argentine replaced Nigel Adkins at the Saints and Lambert has recalled a story which perfectly illustrates just how ruthless Pochettino can be after confronting him about the intensity of his fitness drills.
He told Radio Solent: "I just couldn’t cope. We would come in on Monday after 90 minutes on the Saturday and do 12 horseshoe runs [of the training pitch].
“I had the bottle to go into his room, pull him to one side very respectfully and I said, ‘Mauricio, listen, we understand what you’re trying to do, but you’re pushing us too much on a Monday, you just need to calm it down, we’re not used to it’. Mauricio was dead polite, said ‘yes, that’s fine, I understand’, we shook hands and went back to the lads, made up, thinking, 'I just sorted it for you boys'.
“Next Monday, we came in and not only did we do 12, we did 24 runs. I was running around laughing, almost crying. I knew what he was doing, he was trying to break me and he did, he broke me.”
It might be hard work but Southampton certainly benefited from such intensity - and now Tottenham are reaping the rewards of their labour in training.
The former Espanyol boss has worked wonders in North London and it would be a major surprise if Spurs aren't challenging for the Premier League title for a third successive season under him.
Pochettino's troops fell short last season and the one before, but it is plain to see that Tottenham are getting better and it seems only a matter of time before he delivers something truly special.
Lambert managed 15 Premier League goals in the 2012-13 campaign, though only five came when Pochettino took over, but he bagged 13 the following season which paved the way for his dream move to Liverpool in the summer.