Ange Postecoglou told me I could be a leader at Tottenham… then I turned up late for training the next day

SPURS action man Yves Bissouma cuts out danger as well as anyone in the Prem nowadays — and he is always first into training.

And the Mali midfielder’s revival is down to a telling-off from his new boss Ange Postecoglou.

Yves Bissouma revealed he was once late to Tottenham trainingRex

The Spurs gaffer told Bissouma on the first day of pre-season he could be a leader — only for the star to turn up late the very next morning!

Bissouma said: “That day I had a little problem with my car. I had a flat tyre and there was a lot of traffic, too.

“It’s not an excuse, every player knows you have to be on time. I arrived late, he caught me. I said sorry and I told him why.

“He said, ‘If you want to be a leader or a big player you need to be on time and respect all the details of the club’.

“It’s about respect, that’s really important. We fixed it. I told him and the players I was sorry. And now I’m always the first at training.”

Bissouma is joint-top in the Premier League rankings for interceptions, along with Everton’s James Tarkowski.

The ex-Brighton star is also highly ranked in many other stats and is the heartbeat of Spurs’ early season success.

Bissouma said: “The gaffer said a lot of positive things about me. He had the confidence in me and showed this from the first day.

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“He said, ‘Just be you and play the football we want to see and the football everyone wants to see because you have a lot you can do. I give you all my confidence and the rest is up to you’.”

The mood around Tottenham could hardly be more different to last season.

Former boss Antonio Conte, beset by personal tragedy off the pitch and problems on it, finally lost the plot after a 3-3 draw at Southampton in March and never returned to the Spurs dugout.

Bissouma was midway through a long spell out with an ankle fracture but Conte rarely picked him anyway, claiming he was not tactically astute enough.

Bissouma said: “If he said that then maybe it’s because of the way he wanted me to play — I didn’t play like that.

“I respect him because he’s a great coach so I wish him all the best but I have to follow my way and stay focused on what I have to do here.

“I think every season has its reality and last season wasn’t my season.

It’s about respect, that’s really important. We fixed it. I told him and the players I was sorry. And now I’m always the first at training.

Yves Bissouma on being late for training

“You can see from the start, I had Covid in Korea. I came back and got injured. A lot of things happened.

“To be honest, I tried but I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t feeling confident.

“This season is completely different, I’m more confident. The coach has told me what he wants and talks with me.

“I have to do what I have to do to show him he can have even more confidence in me.”

Tottenham seem to have a collective self-belief if last week’s incredible stoppage-time turnaround against Sheffield United is anything to go by.

Sub Richarlison equalised in the 108th minute then teed up Dejan Kulusevski for a 110th-minute winner that sent the home fans into delirium

Bissouma said: “When I saw the added time I thought, ‘I know we can win.’

‘The stadium was on fire’

“I cannot lose this sort of game. I respect Sheffield United a lot but to lose when you create so many chances as we did, for me, is unacceptable.

“Then Richi comes on and . . . wow! A feeling like this is why we play football.

“We win it in the last minute and the stadium was on fire.”

The atmosphere should be red hot again today at the Emirates as the North London rivals — level on 13 points after five games — go head-to-head in the first real test of either team’s credentials this season.

Bissouma famously had a great match for Brighton in a 1-1 draw at Arsenal back in 2019 which all but ended the Gunners’ hopes of finishing in the top four.

He added: “Of course I remember that day, it was good — especially as I played very good.

“I really like to play big games and any game against Arsenal is always a really big game.

“If you want to be the big player then you have to be an asset in the big games. It’s going to be a good one this Sunday and we have to be ready.”

And it is fair to say that nobody will want to be late for this match.

Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou with Yves BissoumaRex

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