Spurs counting on resurgent Sissoko

LONDON • Like the renascent Erik Lamela who scored the winner for Spurs against West Ham on Saturday, Moussa Sissoko is also starting to emerge from the shadows.

The France midfielder has divided opinion since his £30 million (S$53.8 million) move from Newcastle in 2016 and was even booed by fans during a 1-1 draw at Southampton last term.

But after receiving a standing ovation at the London Stadium for the second successive Premier League match, the 29-year-old, who created Lamela's headed winner, is beginning to win over the boo-boys.

His form has not gone unnoticed by Mauricio Pochettino, who has started him while the midfield trio Dele Alli, Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen were injured.

"He's a very honest and professional player. You know what you are going to receive from him," the Tottenham manager said.

"In a squad of 25 players, you need different types of players. Moussa provides the team with a very good balance. I am happy the fans are starting to see him as a player that helps the team and the club, and recognise his value."

While Dembele and Eriksen made appearances off the bench against West Ham, Sissoko is expected to keep his place in today's must-win Champions League tie at Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven.

Having lost their opening two games, the double-header starting with their trip to the Netherlands will make or break Spurs' chances of reaching the knockout stages.

"It's a must-win game and we know that to win, we need to repeat the performance (against West Ham)," Pochettino added.

"When you have a game that you must win, you have to manage the stress. That is part of the growth, of growing up. If we are not capable of winning this type of game, we cannot win titles."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'Spurs counting on resurgent Sissoko'. Print Edition | Subscribe