Europa Presser Sissoko Talks Tottenham, Tanguy, Ludogorets

Jul 25, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Moussa Sissoko (17) Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 25, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Moussa Sissoko (17) Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Moussa Sissoko
Jul 25, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Moussa Sissoko (17) Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

Each week a different player is made available to the media for Europa League, this week Moussa Sissoko, was asked about Tanguy, Tottenham, and more Tanguy.

Moussa Sissoko was the latest Spurs player to get the pre-game press conference duties in Europa League. One may wonder if it is an honor or a burden, but Mourinho keeps changing the players week after week. During this almost 8 minutes with the media, Sissoko talked about Tanguy Ndombele’s transition with the club, the disappointment of last week’s loss, and the focus of the team.

Sissoko started the conference expressing his disappointment that the team “didn’t play well” after starting the European campaign good at home. With back to back matches against Ludogorets, it is a “good opportunity” according to Moussa show the “team learned from that game” last week and can get the three points.

The French midfielder acknowledged the important of the game, noting that the team really needs to “come back with the three points” of they will be in a bad place in terms of advancing in the competition. It is good to see that the players realize the hole they will be in if they lose the game, which means they need focus and that was much of what Moussa talked about in terms of focusing on one game at a time.

One Match at a Time

Sissoko was asked about the ambitions of the club with all the fixture congestion and rather than speak about any one competition, Moussa shared some of the philosophy and ethos being instilled by Jose Mourinho at the club. Sissoko noted – more than once – that no one competition was more important than the other and that “every game is important” for Tottenham.

Moussa said focusing “is how the big teams win trophies, to take it game after game and we are focused on the game tomorrow”. He went on to mention that after that game they can start to think about Sunday, but not until after the match. Sissoko again stressed, Spurs need this “game after game” focus as they “want to go as far as possible” so “every game is important”.

This is exactly the approach fans should want to hear from Sissoko, Mourinho, or anyone speaking from the club, the most important game is the next game, and then the one after that. You win titles by winning one game at a time. There are no touchdowns in world Football, it is about one goal at a time, likewise the best teams go one game at a time.

Moussa on his Mates

Given the emergence of Tanguy Ndombele this season and the fact that Sissoko is something of a brother to his fellow Frenchman, he received more questions on his comrade than he did on the game tomorrow. Moussa first compared Ndombele’s transition to his own, which was admittedly rough in his first season at N17 – and Sissoko had already played in the Premier League at Newcastle.

For Tanguy, the language, the culture, the club, the city, the food, all of it was new for the young talent and it was a lot to take in. Fortunately, he had a mate like Sissoko to help with the transitions. Now, we are all seeing the talent and ability of Ndombele and Sissoko has certainly played a big part. It seemed Sissoko was as excited for Ndombele’s emergence as we are, which speaks to their bond together.

When later asked about Tanguy off the pitch, which Mourinho was asked about as well; Sissoko remarked on Tanguy’s his growing English and ability to communicate and joke with the players in the locker room was really growing. Whether he gives an interview to us in English is almost irrelevant, whether or not he can understand the inside joke in the clubhouse is vitally relevant and it is great to hear Ndombele is starting to just be one of the boys.

Sissoko was also asked about Pierre Hojbjerg and the contribution he has brought to the team. Of course, Sissoko was extremely complimentary about the Dane’s quality and the “energy” he brought to the pitch, noting he was a rather good footballer too. A young, but experienced football, but young. I guess it is all relative with Sissoko being one of the teams elder statemen at 31. For those counting at home Hojbjerg is 25.

Ultimately, Sissoko’s answers can only be as good as the questions he is asked. The one thing that is for certain is understanding just how key Sissoko is to the team, both on and off the pitch. On the pitch, his “energy” and drive help Tottenham stay on the front foot in a lot of matches. Apparently off the pitch, he is a real cog in the team spirit and culture that are as critical to team success as the one game at a time attitude. Great to see and hear from Sissoko, let us hope that that the learning from last week and the focus on this week were not simply platitudes and are what we see from Spurs, as the best team in Bulgaria is not the best team in Bulgaria for nothing.