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Tottenham: Sissoko on Chelsea battle; Europa games back at Lane; Cascarino jibe

Moussa Sissoko has become a lightning rod for criticism of Tottenham’s recruitment last summer, but says they are ready for another battle against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this Saturday. The France international moved to White Hart Lane in a £30 million deal from relegated Newcastle this summer, but has struggled to establish himself in Mauricio Pochettino’s first-team thoughts. Sissoko’s best performance came when he played on the right flank against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side, a performance that set the benchmark for how Spurs can play. Pochettino’s side however have failed to hit those heights in recent weeks and crashed out of the Champions League with a 2-1 defeat to Monaco on Tuesday night. Sissoko said:

“I saw the tackles flying in on TV last season and it is going to be another massive game on Saturday.

“But I am sure we will be ready for it. All the players will be up for it.

“I think the Chelsea game comes at the right moment for us because going out of the Champions League is such a big disappointment we feel we must do something to put it right.”

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The 2-2 draw at the Bridge in May was something of a turning point for Tottenham, both last season and in their overall trajectory. Results have suffered since that fateful day, and while many lauded their aggression and passion, the reality is they lost their heads. Spurs will have to retain their composure far better this weekend, but they are unbeaten in the Premier League. Things looked gloomy for Spurs when they travelled to Arsenal earlier this month, but they produced one of their better displays of the season to get a 1-1 draw at the Emirates.

Elsewhere, Tottenham seem as if they will qualify for the Europa League and the Daily Mail are reporting that they will return to White Hart Lane for their European home games. Spurs played their Champions League group stage games at Wembley, and were turned over by Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen at the 90,000 seater stadium. The big pitch at Wembley should have suited Spurs’ hard-running and athletic style, but their performances haven’t been up to scratch. To Pochettino’s credit, he has refused to blame Wembley for their struggles.

Finally, Times columnist and pundit Tony Cascarino says the performances of English team in Europe are a cause for concern. Many decry Ligue 1 as a sub-standard league, but PSG were the better side against Arsenal last night and Monaco were clear and deserved winners home and away against Spurs. Cascarino said:

“This was another reality check for the Premier League.

“It is awash with money yet its clubs struggle to produce the performances that should arise from financial dominance.

“The French league has embarrassed our league in the past two nights, given that Tottenham were outclassed by Monaco.

“We compare ourselves to the Spanish and German leagues but we have yet to expert any superiority over the French.”

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