Tottenham ‘coming of age’ under Antonio Conte says Eric Dier after Champions League place sealed on final day

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 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Eric Dier says Tottenham's form during the Premier League run-in shows the squad is "coming of age" under Antonio Conte.

Spurs could scarcely afford to put a foot wrong in their final three matches but beat Arsenal, Burnley and Norwich by an aggregate score of 9-0 to complete a six-point swing over their north London rivals, clinching fourth place and Champions League football.

Conte's side won eight and drew two of their final 11 matches, showing an impressive consistency and maturity, and Dier believes the experience of the squad and manager were key factors.

The defender said: "I think the team is more mature, I feel we're coming of age, a lot of us. We're still young but with a lot of experience now, all of us. I felt that experience in the last couple of games, the Arsenal game especially, and then to finish it off [against Norwich]."

As a player, Conte's Juventus lost the 1999-2000 Serie A title to Lazio on the final day of the season, despite leading their rivals by nine points in mid-March, although he also experienced winning the Scudetto on the last day with the Old Lady.

Dier added: "Obviously the manager has tonnes of experience in these situations and he relayed that to us this week, telling us about titles he lost or won on the last day against teams that weren't playing for anything.

"So it was just about maintaining our standards all week and getting the job done. We did that.

"It's fantastic for us. We're so happy to be back in the Champions League, it's where we want to be as players and a club. When the manager arrived it wasn't really on our radar, so to get it at the end is fantastic."

Hugo Lloris credited the club's fans, saying the belief returned to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during the back-to-back wins over Arsenal and Burnley which swung the momentum to Spurs in the battle for fourth.

Eric Dier believes Tottenham are ‘coming of age’ under the management of Antonio Conte (Action Images via Reuters)
Eric Dier believes Tottenham are ‘coming of age’ under the management of Antonio Conte (Action Images via Reuters)

"We cannot forget to mention the fans," the captain said. "They were looking for the last two years for this Champions League, and we're very happy to see them celebrating.

“In the last two or three games, the belief went back into our stadium. Now let's enjoy this achievement. And next season will be another one, with another scenario, different actors and protagonists. It will be exciting. When you belong to this league it's an amazing feeling to fight every week.

"I think it's a big achievement. When you look at the season, there's so many up and downs. The credit belongs to the players for never giving up but also to Antonio Conte and his coaching staff. It's a team win and I think it's going to give the club the positiveness to prepare for next season with the guidance of Conte.

"Already in six or seven months, the change is massive. There's no secret, it's all about work. Team work and the commitment every day of the players. They deserve this place and deserve to enjoy this moment but we need to keep going next season."

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