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Sissoko happy at Spurs having previously sparked exit talk during testing spell

15:12 GMT+3 22/02/2019
Moussa Sissoko Tottenham
The France international endured a difficult start to his time in north London, but is thriving in the 2018-19 campaign and feeling much more settled

Moussa Sissoko is happy at Tottenham, with his persistence and belief in his own ability having helped him to recover from a testing start and silence any transfer talk.

The France international was snapped up by Spurs from Newcastle for £30 million ($39m) in the summer of 2016.

He was to endure a difficult debut campaign in north London, which left him goalless, and a marginally better second season as he found the target on two occasions.

Exit talk was sparked as he struggled to justify a hefty price, with Fenerbahce among those said to be keen on doing on a deal before distancing themselves from the 29-year-old.

Sissoko refused to give up on his Tottenham challenge, though and has flourished this season after being moved inside off the flanks to operate as a central midfielder under Mauricio Pochettino.

He told Sky Sports of an eventful couple of years and his current frame of mind: “My first season at Spurs was not easy.

“First of all, I signed on the last day of the transfer window. I did not have a pre-season and I did not know any players here, except Hugo [Lloris].

“It was a different mentality, a different style of football. I tried my best but it was difficult to adapt with this team. Because I am someone with a strong mentality, I said I will keep working until I can do what I want.

“Maybe it took me some time to get here, but I am happy to have joined this club and happy to be here.

“When you come from a team where you are playing every game, to a team where you are not playing as much as you want, you always think whether you made a good choice or not. My agent was with me, my uncle, and we spoke every day. We agreed it was the best choice for me, I just needed to stay passionate and keep working because I have the quality to be a success here. When I see my situation now, I am happy to have followed that way.”

Sissoko believes his return to form is down to the tactical tinkering of Pochettino, with his game better suited to the demands of life in the Spurs engine room.

He added: “I am very happy in that role.

“We train a lot in that position and was happy with it. I was feeling better and better in games. I got more confidence from the games.

“I feel it is my natural position, even though I was playing out wide for Newcastle. From when I started playing football, my position was as a central midfielder. It is where I feel more comfortable. For different reasons, managers put me on the side. I feel more confident in the middle, and I know exactly what I have to do. For me, it is easier.

“I hope to improve and be a better player, but for now I am happy. I just need to keep working on every training session.”

Sissoko’s efforts this season have helped to keep Tottenham in the race for the Premier League title, with the Frenchman having already expressed his desire to see Spurs continue sailing under the radar as Liverpool and Manchester City attract more of the attention.