After seeing Yves Bissouma during the first three of four training sessions in the summer, Ange Postecoglou reportedly informed the midfielder that he might be one of the leaders in the Tottenham locker room.
With the Mali international going from someone who was fighting to gain starts under Antonio Conte last season to one of the cornerstones of the team under Postecoglou, Bissouma has without a doubt been Tottenham’s most improved player thus far this season.
The 27-year-old had dominated the midfield competition in each of Tottenham’s four Premier League games, and his defensive prowess and ball-handling skills had echoes of a young Mousa Dembele.
Postecoglou acknowledged that he exhorted Bissouma and the other Tottenham players to perform their best games, regardless of the previous events.
At Spurs, Postecoglou wants Bissouma to be a leader.
The Australian responded to talkSPORT’s question about what he did to help the former Brighton resident change: “I don’t think I’ve done anything specific with him. It all comes down to setting the scene, players.
“I put the responsibility on them too, because sometimes when you’ve had a bad season, you can blame the manager in the past or other things, but in the end, I told all the players that it’s about them now,” stated the manager.
“You never start with a clean slate, but you do have the chance to take control of your career, prove to me your abilities, and be the best version of yourself.
“Biss, I was fortunate that he was present on the day I came. Several of the boys had represented their countries in soccer, but Biss had been here from the beginning.
“I sort of grabbed him and told him that the way he was training at the time, the first three or four sessions we mostly had young boys and I said ‘you can be a leader in this group’. Although I was previously aware of his talent, I could tell from the manner he was practicing that he benefited from it.
The following morning, he was late, and I reminded him once more that being a leader involves being on time. He has been on time ever since. As a result, there are always lessons to be learned.
“I think with him and all the players it’s about creating an environment, a framework to say ‘you really shouldn’t have any excuses, I’m not going to let you have any excuses to not be the best you can be,'” said one of the players. The rest is up to them in that situation.
Cristian Romero, who has been named the vice-captain of the team and is now the head of Tottenham’s revamped backline, is another player who appears to have undergone a full transformation from last season.
Last week, Lionel Messi and a few of his Argentine colleagues referred to the 25-year-old as the best defender in the world (Mirror).
I don’t argue with Messi, Postecoglou stated in response to the question of if what Messi said was true. You know what, I wouldn’t want to compete against Romero.
The majority of the boys dislike practicing with him. He is a true rival. I adore him for it. Romero gives you exactly what you see, whether it’s during practice or a match.
As a result of his ability to handle possession in confined spaces and advance the ball high up the pitch, I think Bissouma is now Tottenham’s most crucial player. This is significant because it helps us dominate games. I’m concerned that if we lose the Mali international to injury, our defensive vulnerability will be fairly exposed given the way we now play.