Moussa Sissoko: helped turn the tide despite a 1-0 loss in our Champions League semi-final, first leg against Ajax on Tuesday night – and led the rallying call ahead of next week’s return in Amsterdam.
Back from injury, our French powerhouse was back in the thick of it in unfortunate circumstances, replacing injured Jan Vertonghen after 39 minutes.
We were 1-0 down by then after Donny van de Beek’s opener but switching from a 3-4-3 to 4-2-3-1 system, Moussa certainly helped us gain more control and push Ajax back in the second half. We piled on the pressure and turned possession in our favour but just needed that clear-cut chance to fall our way as it stayed 1-0.
WE HAVE A SECOND GAME SOON AND WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE WE’RE READY TO GO THERE TO FIGHT AND TO GIVE EVERYTHING TO GET BACK IN THIS TIE
That display certainly gave Mauricio Pochettino hope that we can turn things around in the second leg on Wednesday week (8 May, 8pm) – a view echoed by Moussa.
“From the bench, I could see the first half wasn’t easy,” said Moussa, now involved in 40 of our 54 games this season. “We didn’t start well, we weren’t aggressive enough and didn’t play how we normally play, so the game was difficult.
“The second half was much better. We tried to play more and we were more aggressive, more solid. I’m sure we can do better. In the end, we lost and we’re all disappointed but we don’t have to give up. We have one more game to play and I’m sure we can do it but we will have to show something different.”
Moussa up against Dusan Tadic and David Neres
Copied to clipboard
It was put to Moussa that we’ve had to dig ourselves out of trouble numerous times in this Champions League run – one point after three group games, late goals against PSV, Inter and Barcelona, finding a third goal in the quarter-final at City – and we’d just have to do it again.
He added: “When you look at the group stage we didn’t start well and maybe a lot of people were thinking we were out of the Champions League – now we are in the semi-finals.
“We know it’s two games, even if you win the first one, it doesn’t mean you will go through. We have a second game soon and we have to make sure we’re ready to go there to fight and to give everything to get back in this tie.
“Ajax can play good football, they showed they have a lot of quality. We knew that before the game. Like I said, when we go there it won’t be an easy game but if we play our style and give everything I’m sure we can come back.”