Moussa Sissoko says top-four battle is closest ever but backs Tottenham to stay distance in Champions League race

Ben Pearce
Evening Standard
Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images
Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Moussa Sissoko believes this is the most competitive top-four fight since he arrived in the Premier League — and he is frustrated that Tottenham were unable to beat West Ham on Thursday and capitalise on Wednesday’s draw between Arsenal and Chelsea.

Spurs dominated their London derby, having 31 shots to the Hammers’ three, but they fell behind before having to settle for a 1-1 draw as Pedro Obiang and Heung-min Son traded exquisite long-range strikes.

It leaves Mauricio Pochettino’s side three points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, although second-placed Manchester United are only three points further ahead, and Tottenham remain in front of sixth-placed Arsenal.

Sissoko, who moved to England when he joined Newcastle in 2013, said: “This league is very tough and everyone wants to play there [in the Champions League], so we will try to compete until the end.

“I think we lost two point, because we wanted to win and we deserved normally to win. We had some chances we didn’t score and they had only one shot and one amazing goal, so we are disappointed. But at the same time I can say we are happy because we showed the character of the team to react well. We tried to push from the beginning, but we were unlucky. You have some days like that.

“We all saw the draw between Arsenal and Chelsea, so we wanted to win. But it’s still one point, so it’s better than nothing. Now we need to have some good recovery and be ready for Sunday’s FA Cup game.”

One of the positives for Spurs was the performance of right-back Serge Aurier, who has been improving steadily since his summer move from Paris St-Germain.

Sissoko knows the Ivorian well from their time together at Toulouse, and he said: “I don’t know if it’s his best game for the club, but it’s one of his best. Week by week he’s feeling better in the team and I’m happy for him. That’s what the club wants to see from him, so I hope he’s going to do better and better.

“When you change country and you don’t speak the language, it’s not easy. But I think since he came he’s done very well and, game by game, he’s been better. Yesterday we saw a good Serge, so it’s good for him. I’m happy because I’ve known him for a long time. I’m sure he’s going to do well at Tottenham.”

Spurs are now preparing for Sunday’s Cup tie against League One AFC Wimbledon and Sissoko added: “If we can win the Cup, that’s got to be good for the club because it’s been a long time since we won a trophy.

“Manchester City are very far away in the League, but we will not give up until the end. We’ll fight and see at the end where we’re going to be.

“We have a massive team and a strong squad. We can compete with everyone. A team like Tottenham deserve more [trophies], but football is never easy.”

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