Sissoko stronger than ever after Pochettino 'hurt' him

Moussa Sissoko said last season was the best of his career while reflecting on the battle that almost forced him out of Tottenham.

Tottenham midfielder Moussa Sissoko is currently with the France squad preparing for the Euro 2020 qualifiers.   -  Getty Images

Moussa Sissoko claims he never considered quitting Tottenham despite feeling "hurt" by team selections by Mauricio Pochettino that affected his international career.

The midfielder is a key member of Pochettino's Spurs side and has started all four of Tottenham's Premier League matches in 2019-20, but two years ago it was a different story for Sissoko.

While preparing for France's Euro 2020 qualifier with Albania, the 30-year-old reflected on a 2017-18 campaign in which he started just 15 league games for Spurs and missed out on a place in Didier Deschamps' World Cup-winning Les Bleus squad.

"Not being at the 2018 World Cup was of course a disappointment, but not an end in itself," Sissoko told Le Parisien.

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"I was aware of having a complicated year with my Tottenham club. The coach's choices hurt me, but it's the law of football. The only thing to do was to redouble efforts. To abandon everything would have been a descent into hell.

"I did not want to stay on a failure. I never thought of leaving Tottenham, it gave me even more the desire to do well.

"I have a winning mind, it has been like that throughout my career. I do not make any noise, I do not come in the media to say that I had to play."

Sissoko bounced back in 2018-19, starting 27 league games and playing a vital role in Spurs' run to the Champions League final, where it lost to Liverpool.

He has found his home in Tottenham's midfield this season as one of two deep-lying players alongside Harry Winks, but he admitted he needed time to adapt to Pochettino's desired style of play.

"Perhaps I have never felt as strong as today," said Sissoko.

"I am comfortable, fulfilled, confident. It is often said that the best form of a player is between 28 and 30 years old. I did not believe it before, but I have certainly had my best season since playing football. I must continue to ride this wave.

"Last season, I played 95 per cent of the games as an axial midfielder. This is where I have the most success, where I express myself best.

"I have assimilated our possession game. It took time, but I like it there a lot."

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