Mauricio Pochettino hailed Moussa Sissoko’s contribution as Tottenham kept their Champions League last-16 hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Inter at Wembley.
Spurs were 10 minutes away from exiting Group B with a game remaining on Wednesday, but Sissoko’s storming run led to substitute Christian Eriksen lashing home to move Pochettino’s side up to second.
The result means Spurs now travel to group leaders Barcelona – who have already qualified for the knockout stages – in two weeks’ time knowing that a win would see them join Ernesto Valverde’s side in the next round.
Sissoko has been a maligned figure since joining the club in 2016 from Newcastle United, but a series of swashbuckling performances in recent weeks have seen him become something of a cult hero for Spurs fans.
He put in another all-action performance against the Italians and Pochettino has revealed the Frenchman is relishing his new role.
“His team-mates are so happy that the fans are now starting to show the love,” he told BT Sport.
— Moussa Sissoko (@MoussaSissoko) November 28, 2018
“There was a tough period for Moussa but I remember one day I hugged him when he was coming off and I told him you are going to be a success here.
“Now he starts to feel free and today he was key again, a key part of the success.”
Tottenham face Barca in a fortnight knowing they need to match Inter’s result against PSV and Pochettino is confident of getting the job done.
“Anything is possible,” he added. “I never say it is mission impossible. In football, anything can happen – you need to believe. It will be tough (to win at Barcelona) but the belief is so important.”
Inter boss Luciano Spalletti, meanwhile, was frustrated with his side’s inability to cling onto the point they needed to secure their progression to the knockout stages.
“We did largely what we had to do, apart from a few moments of the game,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “We are very disappointed with the result, we’ll go into the next game and see what happens.
“I thought we were growing and didn’t make the most of some scoring opportunities, then conceded with a distraction and nobody was able to cut out the pass.
“Tottenham have this physical strength, they always keep you under pressure throughout the match and we interpreted that Sissoko move wrong twice.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!