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Red Dot interview: Ousseynou Cisse

The midfielder discusses his life on and off the pitch...

5 March 2019

Read the full interview with Ouss Cisse which featured in last weekend’s edition of Red Dot...

First of all Ouss, how would you assess the season so far?

“At the beginning of the season, we played really well but then we had a run of few bad results. I like playing attractive football, a bit like Manchester City and Barcelona because people pay money to come watch that football, but in League Two we can’t do that as much so we have changed our game. We have changed to be strong, with the aim to keep a clean sheet and then score. We are being efficient with our football. We don’t care if we win 1-0 now - we just want to win games. The only thing on our minds is winning games.”

On a personal level, how do you feel you have performed?

“I think I’ve done well. I’m always working hard and I try every day to give everything for this Football Club. At the start of the season I was being too fancy when I got on the ball, but I’ve changed my mind to be strong now. I want to be the boss in midfield and boss the middle of the pitch in every game. After that, I’ll play football.”

How helpful have Paul Tisdale and his sta been with you, in terms of changing your game?

“They’ve been very helpful with me and I’m thankful to them. I’m always looking to learn and with the coaches, they are always reminding me to be strong first and play football after. They have helped me adapt to that mentality.”

You are well into your second season with MK Dons. What was it about the Club that attracted you to sign here back in summer 2017?

“I always wanted to play football in England. I like the intensity of the game here and I was desperate to play here. MK Dons provided me with that option. The stadium and facilities we have here are amazing. I know how lucky I am to play for this Club and in this stadium. We’ve had Brazil play Cameroon here and Tottenham [Hotspur] play Watford. I watched both of the games and it was amazing to see the stadium full. The atmosphere was great and I would love to play at this stadium for a long time and, one day, play in front of a full stadium like Brazil did.” 

From your social media activity, it appears you watch a lot of football. Do you watch it that much? And, if so, why?

“Yes, I do. I love football. After my family, I’m always thinking about football. When I speak with my friends they always tell me I’m thinking about football too much! Even in the o season, I’m playing football with my friends and son. I’m living for football!” 

We’ve also seen that you are a very religious individual. How important is your faith to you?

“It’s really important. I trust God, I pray every day and visit the Mosque in Milton Keynes when I can. My religion is one of the most important things in my life, along with football and family.”

How have you adjusted to life in England? How do you find Milton Keynes?

“I love Milton Keynes because it has everything. I can visit London if I want, it’s easy I don’t tend to go, though, as it’s too busy for me. London reminds me of Paris, but I can’t stay there for longer than three days. I’ve found my home here and I’m enjoying it.”

Your family are based in France, which must be tough for you. How accommodating is the manager and the Club with allowing you to spend some time with them?

“Tis knows that my family are in Paris and that I need to see them. He understands that and he’s helped me a lot. It is sometimes hard to deal with mentality but I have to stay strong. I want to personally thank Tis for allowing me time to see my family. It’s really nice and it helps me focus on my football. He’s the football manager but he cares about all of his players. We play football, but we have lives away from the game. He respects that.”

Can you talk about the dressing room atmosphere here at the Club? You all seem to get on really well?

“We’ve got a great squad here. They all helped me a lot when I first signed because I told them how bad my English was. I love them and I’m happy to play football with them.”

We’ve seen that you spend a lot of time with your teammates away from the stadium. How important is it for the squad to socialise outside of football? 

“It’s important. I’m on my own here and didn’t have any friends when I moved. It’s nice of them to come to my house and play FIFA and spend time with me. Sometimes I go for food with the likes Lawson [D’Ath], Conor [McGrandles], Ryan [Watson], George [Williams] and Robbie [Simpson]. It’s important to have these friendships.”

On away games, you often share a room with Robbie Simpson. What is he like as a roommate?

“He’s so funny, I love him! He snores a lot, though!

We know you love your music! Have you tried to get and French music played in the dressing room?

“They like French music, to be fair. When France won the World Cup, there was a song released called ‘Ramenez La Coupe A La Maison’ by a French rapper and everyone knows the song. I love to listen to music, but
I listen to a lot of English music to help me learn the language. It’s funny because before I moved to England, I was singing a lot of English music but I didn’t know what I was saying. Now, I’m saying to myself that I was crazy singing that!” 

During your career, you’ve played in France, Belgium, Spain and now England – what differences do you see here compared to the other nations you’ve played in?

“It’s more physical here in England and it’s more intense, with less time on the ball. I’ve played in four countries but here, the fans live for football more than anywhere else. You know when you’re going to the stadium where fans will be there to support you. They seem more emotional here in England too but they are always behind you.”

The fans have shown you continuous support ever since you arrived at the Club. How much does their backing mean to you?

“I love the fans so much! They helped me a lot when I first signed for MK Dons. They are always behind me and helping me. I want to say a big thank you to them. I try to give them a big thank you on the pitch with my performances.”

Have you spotted the Mali flag in the stands?

“Yes! It’s really uplifting. I’ve met the person who owns the flag and I told him thank you. I let him know that seeing it gives me a lot of power on the pitch.

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