Moussa Sissoko had one of his best ever games in a Tottenham Hotspur shirt in Spurs’ 3-0 win at Everton on Sunday, and he did it from a new position: central midfield. And if you were surprised to see Sissoko actually be useful for Tottenham, the midfielder has a message for you: get used to it, because things are “totally different” this season.
“This season is totally different because I had the pre-season with the team. Last season I signed at the last minute and didn’t have the pre-season, so it was difficult.
“Now I feel good and ready to fight like everyone, and try to give my best for the team. I hope I will do well this season and we will all do well in the league, in the Champions League and in the cups.
“The manager gave me my chance (against Everton) and I tried to give my best. I think I did well, like all the team, so I’m happy. When you start you’re always happy.
“I had some chances but I didn’t score. That’s football, so I hope my goal will come soon. But the most important thing was to have a good game.”
There’s reason to think that Sissoko is due for an uptick in performance this year, if you subscribe to the Pochettino Year theory. That theory (which I totally just made up) hypothesizes that new players need at least a full year to adapt to Poch’s tactics, system, and the Premier League. We saw the Poch Year in effect with Erik Lamela and Son Heung-Min, both of whom took a year to kick on and really start playing well for Spurs. (Lamela took longer, but mostly because of his injury in year one).
I’m not sure I buy that Sissoko’s crappy 2016-17 was down to him not having a preseason with the team, although it does make things harder. Likewise, it’s way too soon to start thinking that Sissoko can be a key contributor for Spurs this season based on one game against a bad Everton team. But he’s coming off of a very nice match (by his usual standards) and the fact that he was not sold this summer suggests that Pochettino thinks he can get more out of him. Honestly, nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong about Moussa Sissoko.