Yves Bissouma completed more touches and more take-ons than any other player in the Premier League last weekend.
„Superb” was manager Ange Postecoglou’s assessment when asked to describe Bissaumah’s all-action display after a thrilling 2-2 draw against Brentford. „Great,” ex-Spurs striker Clive Allen.
The Mali international has deliberately put himself at the center of action, something he did not manage well under Antonio Conte last season, with Bizoma publicly admitting he „struggles” with his tactical demands.
Fast forward 12 months, and a new era begins to take shape at Tottenham, one without Harry Kane, but with new plans, philosophies and faces.
Always felt like a good fit from Bissaumah to Spurs. In the same window, the club brought in Ivan Perisic, Richarlison, Djed Spence, Destiny Udogie and Cristian Romero – smart business, but consistency proved difficult to achieve under former boss Conte.
Bissouma made just 10 Premier League starts for Spurs last term due to a three-month ankle injury. Now fully fit, the 26-year-old is confident and, in her words, „ready to give it her all” for the cause.
Enter Bissouma 2.0 – an energetic yet composed figure whose mission is to deliver and restore some glory to a club trying to shake off the slumber of a multi-season slump.
Sit down for an exclusive chat Sky Sports, the midfielder was strapped into a meeting room at Tottenham’s Enfield training center, clutching a full-bodied, fruit smoothie. It was clear what the purpose of his future campaign would be.
„I’m more focused on winning. We work hard every day to win games. In every situation, I want to win, every game,” he began, after last weekend’s sensational opener against Brentford yielded nothing more than a point. .
„We controlled the game but we didn’t have the chance to win it, so I don’t celebrate these things, but I appreciate those who say this. [I’ve played well],” he added, referring to his 'Player of the Match’ award.
A game in, Bissaumah already benefits from Postecoglou’s attacking style, which engages in front-foot football, moving the ball with pace but also with purpose. The commanding No. 8 enjoyed 138 touches in the middle of the park, his most in his first Premier League game for Brighton in August 2019.
To illustrate, on the opening weekend, no other player made more successful opposition half passes (81) or more passes ending in the final third than Pissauma. So, what has changed?
He continued: „In life, I’m a person who likes to enjoy myself. I’m relaxed, I take my time to do good things – the same in football, I have a lot of confidence in myself and that’s important.
„The way we work with the manager in training is amazing. We work hard. We try to keep the ball and work a lot – he’s the manager, he wants us to have the ball.”
There is the result
Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham enjoyed 69.6 per cent possession at Brentford, only once in the last four years – under Jose Mourinho & Antonio Conte – have Spurs had more possession in a Premier League game.
Clearly, Bissauma is not a character who shies away from responsibility. His MO is to turn defense into attack, but the way he does it in tight areas, surrounded by opposition players with little breathing room, is particularly impressive.
Such was the case last Sunday, when Christian collected the ball on the edge of the area before using a deft touch to avoid Norgaard, then another lunging Yoann Vissa and Spurs went from bottom to bottom.
„I’m not under pressure, I’m very calm, I’m just trying to think 'what’s next,'” continued Bissauma, somewhat uncomfortable talking about his personal performances in private.
„I play for Tottenham, I don’t play for Bizoma FC,” he said with a wry smile. „Everything I do I think about my team and my teammates. I work hard to be on top in every game.
„In the Premier League you can’t talk too much before games. Every game has its reality. In my head, I work hard to do good things through the game.”
Talk has turned to Postecoglou, who represents a clean break from the pragmatism of the Jose Mourinho and Conte eras, and a return to the traditional ethos of entertaining, attack-minded football.
„He’s very open. He’s very calm and talks a lot with his players,” Bissauma said, describing the new man at the helm.
„He’s a friend, a dad, an uncle, he’s everything. He plays all these roles. He’s very calm, he’s relaxed – he never puts pressure on his players. He tries to tell us what he wants. To me, he’s a wonderful person. And a wonderful coach.”
Now, with Postecoglou in the post and an exciting brand of football designed to capture the imagination of the most cynical section of Spurs’ critical fan base, what’s the expectation?
„We still deserve it, we’re a good team and a big club. It’s the right time to show people, Tottenham have to be at the top. That’s what we’re trying to do but it’s not easy because the Premier League is difficult. We’re not scared, we’re ready.”
It’s one thing to be prepared, it’s another thing to fully fulfill such a promise. Tottenham have lost their talisman this summer, with Kane looking to hunt down some ill-deserved silverware during his illustrious career at Bayern Munich. Are the players sad? Far from it, Bissauma admitted the dressing room will miss „Legend Harry” but it’s business as usual for those in north London.
„Nothing has changed. Harry is a legend and I have a lot of respect for him. Thank you Harry. I wish him well because he deserves better things. I watched him on TV as a kid. The same dressing room was amazing.
„A legend like him, of course we’re going to miss him, but now that he’s gone, we wish him well and focus on us. In football, if you have the character, anyone can be a leader. A leader is not just one person. Who talks.
„We have Sonny – he’s a great example for us. With his attitude and the way he is, you know you have to follow his lead. If you follow Sonny you know it’s a good way.”
Bissouma, who opened 2023/24, helps out with James Maddison’s invention, while helping Oliver Schipp’s defensive duties, something Spurs fans haven’t seen before. As the penny eventually fell in the midfielder’s favor, it was slick and polished.
„I can’t say the best of Bissaumah,” he insisted when questioned if his Brentford display represented 'Peak Bissaumah’. He left out the word 'yet’.
If indeed there is more to come, it should be a chance to excite those inside the club and annoy those outside.
He passed the eye test. It’s time to see if Spurs have really unleashed the true potential of one of the Premier League’s most prolific midfield talents.
Watch Manchester United vs Tottenham live Sky Sports Premier League Saturday from 5pm; Starting at 5.30 pm
„Całkowity introwertyk. Nieprzejednany specjalista od sieci. Przyjazny fanatyk bekonu. Student ekstremalnych. Miłośnik piwa. Organizator.”