‘For the first time in a long time, someone gave me confidence!
Football London published an interesting interview on July 17th.
The interviewee was Son Heung-min’s teammate, Yves Bissouma, a key defensive midfielder for Tottenham.
He joined Spurs from Brighton before last season. At Brighton, he was very impressive. He established himself as a strong defensive midfielder in the middle of the park, with strong activity and defense. It was a move Tottenham wanted to make.
However, in his first year at Spurs, he was plagued by injuries and poor form. He came on as a substitute and didn’t make much of an impact. His presence was close to zero. However, after the arrival of manager Enzi Postecoglou, he became a regular defensive midfielder and the link in Spurs’ midfield. A dramatic change.
Football London asked him about the difference between Antonio Conte and Enzi Postecoglou.
‘I always respected him,’ Bissouma said in an interview. It’s the same now. But there was a bone in his words. ‘We don’t play football the same way,’ Bissouma said.
‘We didn’t play football the same way,’ he says, meaning that his idea of football and Conte’s system were different.
‘Looking back, I had a feeling before the season started. I would say it wasn’t my season, I had that feeling in pre-season when I was injured or had the coronavirus. Clearly, Conte gave Bissouma specific instructions, which he failed to deliver on the pitch. There may have been clashes and conflicts along the way, but he avoided commenting on those details.
However, when talking about Postecoglou, Bissouma was quick to criticize Conte.
He said: ‘It’s completely changed with the arrival of Enzi Postecoglou. He talks to me before training and gives me trust. After that, it’s up to me to play well. I had a coach who understood my football and tried to talk to me. It felt so good. ‘”Sometimes you know you have something, but when someone who knows more (the coach) tells you, it gives you more confidence. I was already confident, but what Angie told me was special. It changed something’.
In the end, Conte wanted to integrate Bissouma into his soccer team, but there were no morale-boosting conversations along the way. Bissouma felt that way. Postecoglou was different. He gave him the benefit of the doubt, restored his confidence, and put him in the starting lineup after his struggles last season. He was convinced that Bissouma’s stats were good enough to be a starting defensive midfielder.
Antonio Conte is undoubtedly a world-class coach when it comes to creating offensive systems and organizing a team. However, he consistently expressed his dissatisfaction with the team’s system and investments, eventually leaving Tottenham after venting his frustrations on his players in a public interview. It’s not known if he had any close talks with the underperforming players during this process. According to Bissouma, Conte didn’t have many such conversations.
However, Postecoglou had a different approach to the player. He may not have the same offensive system and tactical skills as Conte, but he knows how to use a high-potential player who has fallen into a slump. This is the difference between Conte and Postecoglou that Bissouma was really talking about.