Mauricio Pochettino has praised Moussa Sissoko for working hard to become an important member of the Tottenham squad.
Sissoko endured a torrid couple of years at Spurs following his move from Newcastle United in the summer of 2016, but the Frenchman appears to be changing opinions this term.
His recent form has been much improved to the point there are few far fewer complaints when he is included in the starting line-up, as he was against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The 29-year-old played a key role in the 1-0 win at Selhurst Park and the away fans sang his name after the match.
Pochettino, who has kept faith in Sissoko despite some questionable performances up to now, was full of praise for the midfielder on Saturday evening.
“Sometimes different players need a different amount of time to produce performances in the way that you want,” said the Tottenham boss (via the London Evening Standard).
“But by being honest, professional and always giving your best you can turn the opinion of the people. Quality is so important in football. But quality without effort, being professional and fighting for the team makes it difficult for a player to show that quality.
“That is the history of football, no? There are moments and circumstances when you take decisions.
“But football is so dynamic. You need to take decisions in every single moment. But this has not only happened to him. There are many players in football who were close to going and then come in like this.
“But good thing can happen if you are a professional like Moussa and keep pushing and working hard. Sometimes when you feel the pain you keep your head up, keep pushing and keep working hard, that is the only way to get through it.”
It’s important to not get too ahead of ourselves. Realistically, Sissoko is far from a guaranteed starter when everyone is fit.
But with the current injury crisis showing no signs of slowing down, he is proving to be a crucial cog in the machine – long may it continue.