It hasn’t even been a week since Mauricio Pochettino took Moussa Sissoko to task... twice... in the English footballing media. Now, Tottenham Hotspur’s manager appears to be walking some of those comments back, even defending the Frenchman and saying that he’s been having a hard time adjusting.
"It has been difficult. [Sissoko] signed on the last day, August 31, he goes to France for international duty, without pre-season, he came back, he got concussion, he was suspended for three games, so it was very difficult for him to adapt and fit into the team.
"After two and a half years, all of our players that come with us always struggle to fit and to cope with our pressure at the start. Sure, it's not easy for them and he's 27 and with different habits and it's not easy for him, it's not easy for anybody.
"I have been happy with his attitude this week. He trained very hard but it is not a big issue for me. All the players need to understand that we are a 24-man squad. I am the boss."
That’s quite a turnaround from this past weekend, when he ripped Sissoko apart in a press conference, calling his omission from the match day squad “tactical” and implying that he hadn’t been impressing in training or performance since his arrival from Newcastle this summer.
I’m sure everything that Pochettino said about Sissoko earlier in the week was truthful and accurate... but also harsh and a little tactless, especially when relayed in the media and not through anonymous sources, which is how rumors of this nature tend to get disseminated. I suspect someone probably took Poche aside and suggested that he might have been a little hard on Moussa, or maybe Pochettino saw the media furor that erupted over his comments and realized that maybe he shouldn’t have been so publicly forthright with the media about one of his current players.
Look, Moussa hasn’t been good. We know it, Pochettino knows it, and Sissoko now certainly knows it. Message received. But Poche’s comments today do hit home that there’s a little more to it than that, and suggest that maybe we should be willing to give him a little more time before we start linking him with loan moves to Italy.