By Joe Nelson

Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has explained that he has told his players in a pre-season meeting that he wanted to “kill them” after their end-of-season title collapse.

Pochettino revealed that he gave the players his no-holds-barred verdict on their wretched finish to the 2015-16 campaign in the wake of their recent tour of Australia.

The Tottenham manager sat them down for clear-the-air talks to ensure there was no mental hangover ahead of the curtain raiser against Everton on Saturday.

“When we came back from Australia, we talked a little bit about the end of last season,” Pochettino said, as quoted by the Telegraph. “The players needed to hear from the manager my feelings, how I felt after the game and after the season, because there was no time to share it then.

“I explained my point of view, my feelings and it was a very good meeting, between each other, to share our feelings.

“I wanted to kill all of them and I wanted to kill myself too. I told them that. I just said ‘if I had the opportunity to kill you, then I would have killed everyone.’ I am very honest with them and they are very honest with me. There is a very good relationship.”

Pochettino’s belief that Tottenham’s problem at the end of last season was not physical or a lack of talent is underlined by the fact that he has signed only two players so far this summer, Kenyan midfield enforcer Victor Wanyama and Dutch striker Vincent Janssen.

The Argentine, whose team travel to Everton on Saturday, feels the biggest improvement his squad needs to make to sustain a title challenge this season is between the ears.

“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 of last season. To move on, the team, to achieve another level, it is here, on the mental side, that we need to improve.”

In other Tottenham team news, Spurs have agreed a defender transfer.