MOTIVATION KEY FOR SISSOKO
First let me post this comment to a previous article, which caused some discussion about th merits of signing Moussa Sissoko.
"I am a season ticket holder at St James and have no issue with Spurs (ignoring the ignorant criticisms above - SJP empty??? on non match days perhaps) but I think people discussing if he is good or not are missing the point - bad attitude. Last year he is a BIG reason we went down, watch MOTD and you see lung busting runs but watch all but the last handful of games and you have a player with little or no output (1 goal 8 assists - an attacking contribution in 6/39 game!) he would lose the ball so often and rarely try and win it back, walking back as if limping allowing a ball to pass within a couple of yards of him without effort but up on his heals if we get possession back. Awesome talent as his first game v Chelsea showed but if talent is not willing to try it is worthless. Spurs are in the CL but do not be foolish to think he will consider bigger and brighter things - pimping himself to Real and Arsenal the way he did does not make me think Spurs are his first choice."
I can appreciate where this Newcastle fan is coming from and in an article earlier this summer there were similar comments about Victor Wanyama, who had wanted to join us the previous summer but was prevented from doing so. Nothing wrong with that but Wanyama clearly then went through the motions for the season and only tried, according to Saints fans, in a few big games.
I have consistently heard about the inconsistency of Sissoko but that can be remedied. Inconsistency is caused by a lack of motivation. To be a top sportsman in any sport you have to be totally focussed, you do not go through the motions. Mauricio Pochettino will need to find the true motivation of Wanyama, which shouldn't be difficult given the existing relationship, and Sissoko, be it off the pitch or on the pitch.
If Pochettino can get inside Sissoko's head and find the key to his motivation then we'll have another Dembele on our hands. He has eventually been unlocked and was statistically one of the best midfield players in Europe last season. Champions League football is a motivation so I don't see his last season performances for Newcastle as a problem, just as Wanyama's had to be ignored at Southampton.
People were talking about Wanyama being sent off three times and having a problem, but prior to that he had never been sent off, so he can manage his game if he wants to. Sissoko seems similar in that regard, he'll try when he wants to, so just motivate him and you'll get his best.
I follow the understanding he tries when he wants to and I mean no disrespect to Newcastle, but in a team where toher players are perhaps not professional, if they are out at two in the morning the night before a game as claimed by some fans, then he isn't going to be motivated to play there. the culture is to blame just as much as the player and that is determined by the manager. I seriously think that under Pochettino we will see a motivated player, if not he may well be replaced in a year, which seems to be the norm for Pochettino to make his mind up about a player.
To be able to swap Dembele with a motivated Sissoko really gives our central midfield a strong presence. Nobody is going to bully Dier and Dembele, nobody is going to bully Wanyama and Sissoko.
It will give renemed confidence to the rest of the team knowing the heart of the side is strong.
PS - Is this the right picture! Everything is a blur these days. I went to watch a local cricket game at Hythe today, didn't see the ball once! bang goes the ambition of touring Australia to watch a test series, I'd need a sun hat with built in binoculars.