Spurs' Eric Dier denies José Mourinho's claim that he's struggling for confidence

David Hytner
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Julian Finney/AP</span>
Photograph: Julian Finney/AP

Eric Dier says confidence issues have not been a factor in his recent struggle for form and that he continues to embrace the tough love of José Mourinho.

Dier has been erratic since Tottenham’s slump from the end of January, making errors and being dropped twice by Mourinho, who said two weeks ago that the centre-half was enduring a crisis of confidence. The player was fortunate not to be sent off for a last-man challenge in Wednesday’s Europa League win over Wolfsberger.

Related: 'Maturity helps': Mourinho backs his experience to turn Tottenham around

He feels that his dip has been part of a wider collective one, with Spurs having lost five of their past six Premier League matches to slip to ninth. But Dier is determined to drive an upturn, beginning in Sunday’s home game against Burnley.

“Confidence-wise, I don’t feel like I’ve been in a bad place all season,” he said. “I’ve gone through periods where I’ve had low confidence in the past so I know what it feels like and I haven’t felt that this season. The most important thing is the reality and people’s perception versus reality can be different sometimes.

“We’ve gone through a difficult moment but it’s important to keep things in context. I feel like I’ve been happy with my level for the majority of the season. There’s been a dip in it, which correlates with the dip with the team in general and our performances in general. I don’t think my confidence has ever been in a negative place where it’s been in previous times.”

Mourinho substituted Dier after 29 minutes of his second game in charge of Spurs – the Champions League win over Olympiakos in November 2019 – and, more recently, he has not been slow to complain about individual defensive mistakes, albeit without naming names.

But Dier has long admired Mourinho for his single-mindedness in pursuit of victory and the opportunity to work under him was a key reason for him extending his contract at Spurs last July.

“I’m a big boy, this is a ruthless profession and I focus on trying to do the best that I can every time I get an opportunity,” Dier said. “I always try to be the best version of myself, every day in training I try to improve constantly. I know I can have good games and bad games but I’m always relaxed because I know that I give everything I do have.

“Everything on the outside doesn’t affect me so much because I’m confident in myself and I’m confident that I always try to give the best of myself. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it goes badly but my effort never changes.”