FORMER Saint Mauricio Pochettino admitted leaving the south coast club left him in ‘tears’.

Pochettino left Saints in June 2014 – 18 months after taking charge – to replace Tim Sherwood at Tottenham Hotspur.

And ahead of his return to St Mary’s on Saturday, the Argentinian revealed the emotional toll it took on him and his family.

Pochettino said: "Of course a lot aren't going to forgive me, but I still love them.

"I love Southampton. The time I spent there was a great experience; I enjoyed it a lot.

"I cried a lot when I left. My family, too. It was one of the most important periods of my life with my family, that I enjoyed the most, which is why it was so tough.

"You change in your life; you need to move. But I still love Southampton, of course I want to beat them on Saturday but I wish them the best."

Pochettino will be in the stands for the St Mary’s game after being given a two-game touchline ban and fined £10,000 for his actions following is side’s defeat to Burnley.

However, the Spurs boss is considering appealing against the punishment he received from the Football Association.

Pochettino is "shocked" at the extent of a decision he described as "unfair", which would leave him in the stands for both Saturday's fixture at Saints and against Liverpool on March 31.

He is still waiting for the FA’s explanation and is considering his options, partly because he believes the indiscretion to be his first in English football.

"It wasn't the idea to appeal," said Pochettino, 47. "Because in my mind it wasn't a big deal and it wasn't the best way to complain or talk with the referee, but I never expected this type of situation.

"Now I need to think. I need to see the reasons why and then we'll see what happens.

"I am a little bit in shock because it is completely unfair.

"It's my seventh season in England and you can see my behaviour from day one. I was a coach, a manager, a person who wanted to help the Premier League (and) the FA, someone who tried to emphasise, understand and behave to try to help the referees and football and always to try to improve our game.

"It is my first time here that I'm maybe not completely right in my behaviour but I feel this is too much. I feel a little bit sad and disappointed.

"It's unbelievable, no?"

Spurs could yet be strengthened for Saturday's fixture by the potential return to fitness of the influential Dele Alli, who has trained following a hamstring injury and faces a late fitness test.

Kieran Trippier is expected to miss out owing to strained gluteals, while Harry Winks will be assessed because of a potential groin problem before Pochettino selects his starting XI.