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A look inside the close bond forming between Tanguy Ndombele and Moussa Sissoko that could power Spurs to gloryCould anyone do us peasants a favour and put this newspiece to some accessible site such as
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Not surprising. Tanguy, like Giovani doesn't seem to have that good a grasp of English (at least how to speak it) yet. So having a fair few French speakers in the squad will help settle him.To summarise:
The two frenchies are really good mates and will form a good partnership
Muchos gracias, mateA look inside the close bond forming between Tanguy Ndombele and Moussa Sissoko that could power Spurs to glory
Tanguy Ndombele celebrates with teammatesCredit: afp
- Sam Dean, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Any French television viewers who had tuned in to watch Moussa Sissoko’s post-match interview on Saturday night may have noticed someone else lurking in the background of the shot. While Sissoko was carrying out his media duties in the mixed zone at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, speaking to the cameras about their 3-1 win over Aston Villa, another French midfielder was sheepishly hovering a few yards behind him, waiting to leave the stadium arm in arm with his friend.
For those who had followed Tottenham on their pre-season travels this summer, it came as no surprise to see Tanguy Ndombele man-marking Sissoko again. Such is the strength of their bond that the Tottenham squad already refer to Sissoko as Ndombele’s big brother. Indeed, it spoke volumes to the closeness of their relationship that Ndombele was unwilling to leave Sissoko’s side even if it meant hanging around in the dreaded interview area, a place which most footballers treat as radioactive.
Sissoko has also doubled up as Ndombele’s translator this summer, extending his mentoring responsibilities far beyond the field of play. This is no doubt a consequence of Ndombele’s naturally introverted personality, but it is also because Sissoko has walked a similar path to the 22-year-old, making the same journey from France to England and shouldering similar expectations.
Together, big brother and little brother have cost Tottenham close to £100 million. Until this opening-day victory, the assumption had been that Ndombele, the club’s record signing from Lyon, would ultimately replace Sissoko, who turns 30 this week. All the evidence from Saturday’s win, though, suggests that the partnership could become just as strong on the pitch as it has been behind the scenes.
As Tottenham trailed to John McGinn’s early strike, it was increasingly Sissoko and Ndombele who provided the forward thrust for Mauricio Pochettino’s side. The arrival of Christian Eriksen off the bench provided much-needed quality in the final third, but it was Ndombele and Sissoko who drove Tottenham forward from deeper positions in the second half. Sissoko did so in his usual style, carrying the ball from deep and surging past opposition midfielders. Ndombele contributed with his passing, always trying to play vertically, and with his well-taken goal from the edge of the box.
Tanguy Ndombele opens his account for Tottenham Credit: reuters
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This is not to say that Ndombele was at his best. He was far from it, particularly in a difficult first half in which he was left pounding the turf in frustration. Pochettino said afterwards that the Frenchman was playing at only around 30 or 40 per cent of his potential. But there were fleeting moments when it became clear what he will bring to the team, and it was encouraging for the home fans that he was always so keen to move the ball up the pitch.
“The goal will be great for his confidence,” said Harry Kane, whose two second-half goals secured the win. “He is a player that loves to get the ball in the right spaces and uses his body and play forward passes, which is great for us. And if he pops up with goals, that always helps. He’s a great player and he’s working hard. We’re very happy to have him.”
The midfield, with Sissoko and Ndombele either side of Harry Winks, was the key battleground against Villa. For all the new signings that have joined Dean Smith’s side this summer, it was telling that his three midfielders - John McGinn, Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane - were all part of the team that won promotion last season.
In the first half, especially, McGinn and Grealish were dominant. They sat in deep, yes, but they broke when they could with adventure and speed. Grealish breezed past Erik Lamela with eye-opening ease, while Tottenham could not get close to McGinn for the opening goal.
“It is important that we managed to keep the core of the team,” said McGinn. “We made a lot of signings, which has been well documented, but we have managed to keep the core of the team that knows how we play and know what we are doing. Over the piece it looked like the right call.”
Of course, they were worn down eventually as Tottenham tightened their grip. It will be a source of great encouragement that Sissoko and Ndombele, two French midfielders with an increasingly strong connection, were central to their success.
Lol Jan you absolute villain.Paulo Gazzaniga: “What is the best moment of your career so far?” Moussa: “There are three. The first was when I made my professional debut for Toulouse against Valenciennes away. My first game. It was a great moment. My dream became true. We lost that game but for me, it was an amazing day. After that, the final of Euro 2016 with my national team and then the final of the Champions League – two great moments for a player because you want to play in the biggest matches. I had the chance to play in the Euros in France – unlucky, we lost it and of course everyone knows what happened in June, but it was an amazing moment.”
Harry Kane: “Moussa, how are you so strong?” Moussa: “Honestly, I don’t know. It’s natural. Most of the people in my family are strong as well so perhaps it’s genetic. I haven’t done too much in the gym, so it’s natural.”
Ben Davies: “Apart from you, Moussa, who is the best Sissoko in football?” Moussa: “Mohamed Sissoko. He played for Valencia and Liverpool. He was a great player. I used to enjoy watching him because we had the same name. I had the chance to play against him at Toulouse, we played in the Champions League qualifiers against Liverpool. It was my third game. We swapped shirts.”
Serge Aurier: “Moussa, why do some people call you ‘Briko’?” Moussa: “When I was young growing up in France, I was always on my bike. I used to wear a bag around my waist. In this, I had some tools for the bike. Then people started calling me ‘Briko’ (a company that makes equipment for bicycles).”
Heung-Min Son: “How did you improve yourself so much over the last two seasons?” Moussa: “It’s because of my work, my mentality, and that’s it. I never give up. Everyone knows and it’s true that when I first came here it wasn’t easy for me, for different reasons. It was a new team for me, a new challenge, different players, different system. The players already here were also doing well, so it was never easy to be in the starting line-up straight away. I took my time, didn’t give up, worked hard every day. I know people expected more. I didn’t panic, I stayed focussed with the help of my team-mates and the staff and last season was the best season since I started playing football. It was fantastic. I think I can show – even away from football – that when something is hard, you don’t have to give up. Keep working, keep believing and do what you have to do, and it will turn around.”
Jan Vertonghen: “I can think of a few! How about – when is Moussa going to score more than one goal a season?”Jan: “I’m not surprised with this question. Having said that, it’s true and I should score more goals. Now, maybe I’ve changed my position a bit, a little deeper. I’ve had chances and should do better, but the most important thing is that we play well as a team and win. I think myself and Jan should have a challenge – see who scores the most goals.”
Harry Winks: “Moussa, who do you like best – me or Kyle Walker-Peters?” Moussa: “This is tough. I like them both a lot. I always joke with them that they are like my sons! They are two very good guys, great players, both have a great mentality. I’m happy to be the father of those two!”
Dele: “Who is the weakest in the team?” Moussa: “I’m not going to say anything like that about my team-mates, Dele!”
Eric Dier: “Everyone knows it was a difficult start for Moussa, so what were the key things that kept him going in the tough times?” Moussa: “Look, I always think that I’m lucky to be where I am today. Some people are ill, some people are in hospital, many people have it much tougher than me. You have to see the bigger picture. If I’m ever angry or disappointed, I go home, sit down and think ‘I cannot complain’ because I’m doing the best job in the world.”
Kyle Walker-Peters: “Who is the better gamer – me or you?” Moussa: “I would say me because I always play Kyle at Uno, and I’m better than him.”
Lucas Moura: “Ask Moussa – when is he going to do a barbeque for us all at his house?” Moussa: “This guy is clever, very clever. He has tried to turn this around because he has to do a barbeque at his house! He invited me last season and I’m still waiting. That’s why he has asked this question. So the answer is I don’t know when, but hopefully we can plan this soon.”
Victor Wanyama: “Ask Moussa about food, and chicken satay. I think he ate that every day on a tour. Is that his favourite?” Moussa: “It’s funny. Okay, the story is that when we went to Hong Kong a couple of years ago, we were at the hotel and I only really liked one thing, and that was chicken satay and rice. I ate that morning, afternoon and night!”
Hugo Lloris: “What is it like to be Moussa Sissoko – especially when all the fans are singing your song?” Moussa: “I’m really, really proud of that. First, because of where I came from, the beginning was tough. It means a lot. On the pitch, you feel strong, you feel proud.”
We should really have a better song for Hugo.Kicking-off a new series here on tottenhamhotspur.com, we ask the players to pose the questions for their team-mates. Today, the lads quiz Moussa Sissoko on everything from strength and scoring goals to his footballing namesakes and chicken satay!www.tottenhamhotspur.com
Lol Jan you absolute villain.