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Moussa Sissoko believes Jose Mourinho has brought a winning mentality – which can turn Tottenham into genuine title contenders.

Sissoko cannot hide his admiration for Mourinho who this week celebrated a year in charge at White Hart Lane and the club already looks very different.

Tottenham are second in the table, a point behind leaders Leicester and Mourinho’s men would make a big statement in the title race if they can beat Manchester City and go top by Saturday evening.

It is an unusual looking Premier League after an unprecedented year but Sissoko believes Mourinho has brought the perfect balance of pragmatism, winning habit and also experience of lifting major trophies.

Spurs midfielder Sissoko said: “Yes, there is a big opportunity. We can see the league is very open.

"A lot of teams are losing points so it's tight. We have a good and big team so we can beat anyone in this league.

Sissoko and Spurs are in the middle of a good run
(Image: Pool via REUTERS)

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“Of course, it's City but we are Tottenham: we don't have to be afraid of them. If we want to go far in this league, we have to beat them of course.

“It's good to have a manager who knows how to win. It's as simple as that.

"Every club wants to win trophies, to win every week. Of course everyone would like to have a team playing great football, creating a lot of chances and giving the opponents no occasion to score.

“But the main thing is to win games. He knows how to do it and he's done it many times. But he also knows how to play, to give a difficult time to the opponent.

"Having a mix of both is perfect. So let's use it.”

Sissoko has been a trusted player for Mourinho
(Image: Getty Images)

Sissoko, 31, has seen his own fortunes turn around dramatically in his four years at the club, initially struggling to to become a regular and yet now finding himself a vital cog in the machine.

That was highlighted by Mourinho’s assistant Joao Sacramento singling out Sissoko as a “great influence in the dressing room” in the Amazon fly-on-the-wall documentary which showed Mauricio Pochettino’s departure 12 months ago, to be replaced by the Special One.

“Before Jose came, we were struggling a little bit,” said Sissoko. “I would say that the final impacted on us because to lose that final was a big drama for us. We came back with a lot of motivation to do well. But something was missing.

“Jose came and he came with a lot of energy, a lot of positive things and he came with a new philosophy and that helped us to come out again.

Sissoko is enjoying playing for Mourinho
(Image: GEORGI LICOVSKI/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

“I will say first of all that it's because of the manager. He brings something to the team, he brings something positive vibes. He came with a new energy, a new philosophy and maybe we needed to change something.

"People react well to what he's asking, so that's good.

“If one trophy comes, a lot will follow but it's it's not that easy. So let's work all together, try to win a lot of games, try to have get something at the end.”

Sissoko is a warm, engaging character and you can easily see why he is a big figure in the dressing room but also connected with fans on a community event this week.

Spurs is a club proud of its Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and this week he spent time chatting to Premier League Charitable Fund award winners, including essential activities in schools, keep fit sessions and also football coaching.

In Different Times… Sissoko at a previous community event
(Image: Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)

Sissoko is keen to keep engaging with the community and added: “It’s so important to keep that relationship.

"We know they’re always behind us, they’re supporting us since the beginning. It must be tough for them to not be able to come to the stadium and watch some games.”

*Moussa Sissoko was speaking on a virtual event celebrating success stories of local people on projects run by Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, supported by the Premier League Charitable Fund.

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