Ryan Mason backs ‘explosive’ Yves Bissouma to drive on Tottenham in final push for Europe
Bissouma returned to the pitch for the first time since February in one of the few positives from a 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa last time out, which dented Spurs’ hopes of securing a Europa League or Conference League place.
The Mali international had been missing since undergoing surgery on a fractured ankle but could return to the starting XI for Saturday’s penultimate game of the season at home to Brentford.
“[His return] is a bonus because if we look at this season, we’ve probably never had all five [midfielders] fit and firing at the same time,” Mason said of Bissouma.
“Obviously Yves is back now and we’ve got Skippy [Oliver Skipp], Pape [Sarr] and Pierre [Hojbjerg] and Rodrigo [Bentancur] is out.
“Ideally you have all of them fit and firing and you can really drive that in training. Of course, we signed Yves in the last summer transfer window and we believe in him. He’s coming to the stage of the season where he’s back and I think he’s someone that we hope that in next couple of games, if he’s selected, he can bring that energy.
“Every one of our midfielders has different strengths and probably one of Yves’ biggest strengths is his ability to get on the ball and drive. He can be an all-round midfielder. We have good midfielders that can do the same thing but I think he is a explosive player and hopefully he can help us in the next two games.”
Before his injury, Bissouma struggled to make an impact under Antonio Conte, having joined Spurs from Brighton in a £25million summer deal.
“I think that is quite normal when you come into different style of play and a different system, it can take time,” Mason added.
“We see it with players that come from abroad to the Premier League, they have to adjust, and the same goes for an English player or someone who has been playing in the Premier League to have to adjust to a new team and a new style of play.
“Obviously he’s had a few injuries this season that have probably halted his progress, but there are two games now and I can feel the excitement from him that he’s back out on the training pitch and he’s out there playing and he feels like he can help the team and hopefully he can do that.”
Mason also said that on-loan defender Clement Lenglet is the “type of character” Spurs should want to keep at the club. Spurs do not have an option to make the Frenchman’s loan permanent but could negotiate a deal with his parent club, Barcelona.
“These conversations I’m sure will happen in the summer,” Mason said. “Right now it’s not on my mind but I would say about Clem is that he is the type of character we want around the training ground. He is professional, he does it right. He’s vocal and the more people we can keep hold of and get in, the more beneficial it is.”
Mason added that he has never had more belief in his work than at present, and hopes the changes he has made since becoming acting coach can translate into results against Brentford and Leeds in the run-in.
“The most important thing is to get results, that’s what we’re working for,” he said. “At the same time I’d like to start seeing what we believe our team should look like [in the final two games].
“It’s been such a short space of time but we believe and trust in the work we’re doing. Inside the players can feel that change and if it can transfer to the outside in the next two games I think it would be an added bonus. But the most important thing, of course, is getting the results.
“I believe in the way I work, me and my team. I have more belief now than I’ve ever had in my life that what we’re doing, for this football club, the environment, the feeling we’re trying to create here. I believe in it so much. That’s probably where it [my positivity] is coming from.”