Tottenham Hotspur defender Kyle Walker has admitted that the start of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign was horrible, with the Argentine stressing the importance of fitness and working the Spurs group hard.
The North London club are in the running to become English champions this season for the first time since 1961, with the former Southampton trainer revitalising the team’s fortunes.
Pochettino’s footballing ideals rest around pressing high up the park and ensuring his side are fitter than the opposition.
This has been noticeable on the pitch, but the Spurs players have had to work hard to get themselves into the current conditioning.
Walker is one of the players that covers the most distance in the White Hart Lane side courtesy of his lung-busting runs forward and admitted that doing the work in the early Pochettino days was tough.
“I’m not going to lie – at the start it was horrible,” the right-back told The Telegraph.
“Horrible. When you reach the first team as a professional, it’s kind of like, ‘If you want go and do gym, do gym. If you don’t, you don’t have to’. But when he came in, gym was compulsory.
“We’ve got four games left, and we’re still running almost every other team off the pitch. The only team close to us, if I remember correctly, is Bournemouth.
“That’s what I meant before about doing the basics right. We can all play football, but one of the basics of this game is that you need to run about and work for each other.
“That’s what’s pushed us on to the next level. Now, if he says ‘do a gym session in the afternoon’, it’s a normal thing. We just get on and do it.”
Tottenham find themselves five points behind Leicester with four games remaining, as the title race looks set to go right down to the wire.