Moussa Sissoko spent much of the 2018-19 season defying critics and delighting Tottenham fans in equal measure, and he says he has enjoyed feeling the love from the Spurs faithful.
Sissoko had a difficult start to life at the club following his £30 million ($41m) move from Newcastle in the summer of 2016, but he has turned his career around under Mauricio Pochettino.
No longer a figure of fun for opposition fans, his influential performances helped Spurs to one of their finest seasons ever, finishing fourth in the Premier League and reaching the Champions League final.
Presented with the club’s inaugural Legends’ Player of the Season award, Sissoko feels vindicated – but never more than when the fans sing his name.
“I’m very happy and proud,” he told the club’s official website. “That means the fans like what I’m doing and like me as a player and a person. They know me well.
“I’ve always tried to give my best for the team, even when it wasn’t easy, always tried to focus on my job and help everyone.
“I’m doing well now and they are very happy for me. It’s good for a player to feel the confidence of the players, the coaching staff and the fans.”
Though Sissoko did not score for Spurs last season, as his performances improved his confidence grew – a snowball effect which gathered momentum like one of the Frenchman’s driving runs through midfield.
“It’s down to confidence,” he said. “As a player, when you have a lot of confidence, you can do everything.”
“I can say I was consistent during the season. It’s not easy but I worked so hard for it and I’m happy with what I’ve done.”
“Of course, when I came to the Club, my first two seasons weren’t easy, for different reasons. I didn’t give up. This season, I wanted to do well. I pushed myself very hard.
“I had the chance to play a few games in a row and because we were winning, my confidence was going up and that’s why I’ve had a good season. It’s the most confident I’ve been in my career.”
Sissoko and Spurs will be looking to build on their superb season as the new campaign gets underway, with Tottenham hosting newly promoted Aston Villa on the opening day.
He could have some new teammates by then – Spurs are on the verge of signing Leeds winger Jack Clarke, while a big-money move for Lyon’s Tanguy Ndombele is also thought to be on the cards.