Cisse's new lease of life comes after a chat with Tis
By his own admission, it is a new Ouss Cisse on the pitch for MK Dons this season.
Arriving from the French second tier last season, Cisse had an indifferent campaign in League 1 for several different reasons. He played under three different managers, knew little English on his arrival and, at times, didn't even know what role he was supposed to be playing.
Anticipated by many to be jettisoned in the summer, Cisse met with incoming manager Paul Tisdale, and after a chat about football, the Mali international said he liked what he heard from the new boss.
He said: "When Paul came, I had a meeting with him and I liked how he sees football. We spoke a lot about football, and I now know what I have to do on the pitch. He gives me everything I need to be the best player in my position – I'm not lost. I know what I have to do, where I have to be. That's why you see a new Ouss this season.
"It was hard, first of all because I wasn't speaking English, so it was really hard. Now my English is better, not good, but better. I always wanted to play in England, but that first season was not great, because we went down. But now, I think we can be the best team in the league – we have to be."
Tisdale said he was pleased to hear of Cisse's change of heart, and his born-again spirit with the English game and hopes Cisse's feelings are echoed around the rest of the dressing room.
"I'm delighted to hear it," said the manager. "I'd not seen him last season, but I spoke to him reasonably and nicely how he wanted to play, and how the game suits him. I ask all the players the same – their strengths and weakness, and I try to amplify their strengths, and dare I say it, hide their weaknesses. Every player has them, Ouss is no different. I give them all the best opportunity to play their best football.
"I can't promise them they will be playing, I have to be reasonable, but I can promise them I will tell them how they're getting on. Whether they play well or badly on a Saturday, I will still be civil to them on a Monday. I'm glad to hear, and if that's symptomatic of the rest of the squad, then it can only be a good thing."