Moussa Sissoko has revealed how last season’s defeat by Sheffield United laid the foundation stones for the success Tottenham have enjoyed this time out.
The Blades beat Spurs 3-1 at Bramall Lane in July to compound a miserable run either side of the shutdown in which they managed one win in nine games.
Sissoko and his team-mates held a clear-the-air meeting in the wake of that result.
And it proved not just to be crucial to their European aspirations last season but to the run that has seen them leading the Premier League for a period in this campaign.
Sissoko said: “I remember the Sheffield United game. We didn’t play that game seriously.
“We were missing a lot of things, the attitude wasn’t great.
“After the game we had a small meeting between us.
“We knew there were a few games left before the end of the season and we wanted to reach the European competitions, so we needed to perform.
“We did it, so that was a benefit.
“Now it’s another season, so we need to go there and try not to play the same game as we played last year.”
Chris Wilder’s men are bottom of the table after a miserable start to the season but will be buoyed by Tuesday’s first win of the season, against Newcastle.
Sissoko added: “We know it’s going to be a big battle. They have been in a difficult season since the beginning of the season but they won their last game and they will be prepared for it.
“We need to be prepared as well.
“We want to catch up with the leaders and we have to get back to winning ways.”
Tottenham’s transformation since July has also been helped by the arrival of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and the emergence of Tanguy Ndombele after a miserable first year at the club.
“Maybe I am a magician,” said Sissoko, when reminded that he’d promised Ndombele would come good.
“When you are young and you come from another country, you don’t speak the language, it is a different type of play, it is a lot of things to assimilate, to feel comfortable in a new environment.
“It is difficult and that was the case with Tanguy.
“With time he has assimilated a lot of things and now you can see he is very happy when he is playing, he is showing all of his quality.
“He is a very important player for us and, you can ask the manager, he would be very happy with what Tanguy is doing at the moment.
“With Pierre, he is a big warrior.
“He is fighting from the first minute to the last.
“To have this type of player is amazing. Since he came he has shown all of his quality and what he is doing is amazing.
“He is a key player for us.
“To have Tanguy in front as a No.10, that is a good combination.
“You can give Tanguy the ball and he can create something to make the difference at any time.”
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