Inside Pochettino’s Bizarre Rituals, From Bowl of Lemons to Making Players Walk on Hot Coal

Inside Pochettino’s Bizarre Rituals, From Bowl of Lemons to Making Players Walk on Hot Coal

Martin Moses
July 3, 2023 at 9:47 AM
  • Mauricio Pochettino's appointment as the next Chelsea permanent Head Coach was finally confirmed
  • He will make a comeback to English football after being sacked by Tottenham in 2019
  • The Argentine has a number of bizarre rituals that will soon find their way to West London

Mauricio Pochettino arrived at Chelsea's training ground for the first time on July 3 following his appointment as the new Head Coach in May.

Pochettino is set to begin his three-year contract at Stamford Bridge with a lot of things on his agenda given the Blues' calamitous season.

Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea
Mauricio Pochettino celebrates at the end of the famous game vs Ajax during his days as Tottenham boss. Photo by Chris Brunskill.
Source: Getty Images

There have been reports that his appointment has been received well by players. It has been a rollercoaster season in West London since the new ownership decided to part ways with Thomas Tuchel.

Despite having proven Premier League experience, Pochettino's main undoing has always been the fact that he did not win any silverware. That notwithstanding, his ability to turn young players into world beaters like what he did with Delle Alli and Harry Kane is unquestionable.

What to expect from Pochettino

Chelsea's faithful will be hoping he can mould the current team into something constructive. Todd Boehly has brought in a raft of young new players like Mykhailo Mudryk, Enzo Fernandez and Noni Madueke.

So, how does Pochettino operate? Forget his tactical acumen and man management; the Argentine coach has other rituals or superstitions that he holds dear to his heart. These could soon make their way to Stamford Bridge.

1. Bowl of lemons

The former Tottenham boss keeps a bowl of fresh lemons in his office to absorb negative energy. In a past interview with Talk SPORT in 2019, he said;

"A lot of people come in and out of my office and not all the people have good energy.
“So when people arrive with bad every, the energy is going to be in the lemon and not in myself. It’s like a sponge. It takes all the negativity.
“You can see it. It’s unbelievable! I change the lemons every ten days but sometimes every three or four days, they become ugly."

2. Walking on hot coal

This sounds like training for deep undercover military personnel, but surprise, Pochettino has in the past made his players walk over hot coal.

As the Sun reports, Pochettino brought in motivation expert Xesco Espar ahead of his Champions League final against Liverpool in Madrid for this daring exercise.

"All of them were unbelievably involved. They enjoyed it a lot. They were all very brave. And the staff who did it too. Your mind is powerful and only you set your limits."

3. Reading players' aura

In the modern world, managers often use video replays and training sessions to judge how fit and ready a player is for a game.

While Pochettino uses that as well, he also has his own eye test where he can gauge the energy a player is radiating.

"I need data and tests, but what most influences my decisions is my ability to see if the right energy is flowing. I can foresee things that are going to happen and the associated consequences or which path each player is going to take. I can see it in their auras," he said in his book Brave New World authored by Guillem Ballague.

4. Breaking arrows with throats

It gets scarier or funnier, depending on your sense of humour. Pochettino also had his players attempt to snap arrowheads with their throats. Crazy, huh?

He did this with Spurs players before the Champions League final.

"When you see the arrow, you think ', It's impossible; how am I going to break the arrow against my throat?'
"You say: 'No, come on, I am going to kill myself.' You put it with the sharp tip against your throat, but then, bang, you come forward and break the arrow.
"The most important thing is to learn how you can prepare your mind. To be focused. To be proactive. This is key in football."

It is not known whether any player managed to break the arrowheads or if he had any volunteers, for that matter.

5. Gacon test

Chelsea players should prepare for lots of running in the Pochettino era to test their endurance. In his book, the 51-year-old documented how he uses a proven gruelling run called the Gacon test.

"To start with, the players have 45 seconds to cover 150 metres, with 15 seconds to rest. In each subsequent 45-second rep, they have to run 6.25 metres further, with the intensity steadily increasing."

6. Specific washing powder

It gets crazier. Pochettino is said to have a specific washing powder that he wants the first-team jerseys to be washed with. He believes that the smell goes a long way in impacting good performances on the pitch.

7. Records training sessions

It is unheard of for managers to record training and gym sessions. But in Piochettino's world, it is different. His former player Danny Rose was astounded by this practice.

"He was the first manager I came across who records training, records gym sessions. There are no hiding places," as quoted by the Telegraph.

8. No fines for players

For a manager with very bizarre routines and mannerisms, it would come as a shock that he doesn't necessarily believe in fining his wayward players.

He, however, still demands respect, especially for the club owners to be greeted with a firm handshake.

Chelsea fans will be hoping that these, coupled up with the massive investment done in the last transfer windows, will help catapult the club back to English royalty. Cause the bottom-half place they are set to finish in this year is not it.

Pochettino's in-game tactics

As previously stated, Pochettino's lack of trophies during his first spell in England with Tottenham Hotspur has always been a consideration when judging his suitability to manage a top club.

However, as Sports Brief reported, he might be the answer to a struggling Chelsea side in dire need of an uplift.

In Poch, Chelsea will get a manager who is willing to put everything on the line while attacking. Scoring goals has been the club's main issue this season and looking at Pochettino's previous teams, it was an area he addressed pretty well.

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Martin Moses
Editor- EPL I Serie A
English Premier League - EPL