Moussa Sissoko signed for Tottenham Hotspur to play in the big games like at the Bernabeu
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Former Newcastle United winger pleased with his current form, but insists a lot more is to come ahead of Real Madrid clash
Moussa Sissoko says he joined Tottenham Hotspur for nights like this as Mauricio Pochettino’s side prepare to face reigning European champions Real Madrid at the Bernabeu later this evening.
While Sissoko had a slow start to his Spurs career following his £30million move from Newcastle United in the summer of 2016, his last three displays have been positive.
After setting up a goal for Harry Kane against Apoel Nicosia in Cyprus, the France international netted one himself at Huddersfield – his first for the club – and then posed a threat as a substitute against AFC Bournemouth on Saturday.
Sissoko may well be called from the bench again against Real Madrid this evening, assuming he does not start the Champions League group clash - and these are the occasions he dreamed about ahead of his move to north London.
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“I said it in the newspaper when I signed,” said the 28-year-old. “I came to Tottenham because, although I respect Newcastle, for me Tottenham is better than Newcastle and they try to win the title in the league, and you have a chance to play in the Champions League. That’s what I wanted.
“I have an opportunity to play this kind of game, so I need to enjoy it and try to take it game by game and give my best.
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“I’m excited, and we’re all excited, because we play against the last champions of the Champions League - it’s a big team and it’s away.
“We will go there without pressure and try to play the game normally and hopefully come back with some points from the Bernabeu.”
Sissoko went on: “I’m happy with what I’m doing at the moment. As I’ve said, last season I came at the end of the transfer window so I didn’t have a pre-season, so it was difficult for me. Sometimes it takes time to feel comfortable in a new team.
“But this season is totally different so I feel better. Everything looks good for me at the moment, so I will try to carry on with that and improve every game.
“Maybe I’m doing well at the moment but it’s not the end. I try to make some [assists] and goals because I’m a midfielder and that’s what we need.
“When I came on [against Bournemouth], the manager told me something to do: when we have the ball, try to play inside because here is my best position. I think it was good, I did well and the team also did well.
“I think [that’s my best position] and that’s where I feel most comfortable. After that, the manager decides if I should play inside or on the side - [the decision] is tactical for the team.”
Spurs are tonight set to face four-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who was involved in a painful night for both Sissoko and Lilywhites captain Hugo Lloris 15 months ago as their France side lost to Ronaldo’s Portugal in the Euro 2016 final.
“Of course sometimes I think about that game,” said Sissoko. “I’m still disappointed because it was a massive final at home and we lost, but now it’s over and I need to look forward. It’s a different game with another team.
“It wasn’t easy [to get over it]. We don’t play a final every day, especially because we played at home, and we wanted to bring the trophy.
“We couldn’t for some reason but we need to carry on and look forward. I still have a couple of years to play and I hope to have a chance to play some finals again and hopefully get some titles.
“Of course, that type of game helps you to play this type of game, like tonight. A final is a massive game and to play against Madrid away I think is maybe similar. We have the chance to play against some of the best players in the world.
“But we will go there without pressure. I know we have a good team and a strong squad. It won’t be easy but we will go there to try to play, give our best on the pitch and hopefully come back with something.
“I’ve spoken with Raphael Varane (the Real Madrid and France centre-back) about this game. To joke, I said to him ‘if you can give me a penalty it would be good!’.
“He was laughing, but when you play a big game you focus on your team and forget about your friends. I don’t know if I will play or not, but I will be prepared to give my best for helping the team.”
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