Tottenham defender Eric Dier says criticism is ‘unfair’ as he looks to push Euros case

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Dan Kilpatrick
·3-min read
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 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)

Tottenham defender Eric Dier believes perceptions of his performances are “unfair”.

Dier has made more appearances than any other Spurs centre-half this season but he was in and out of the team under former manager Jose Mourinho, who often criticised his defenders.

The England international was dropped after costly mistakes in home defeats to Liverpool and Chelsea earlier this year and soon afterwards denied Mourinho’s claim that he was suffering from a crisis of confidence.

Dier has played every minute of the three matches under interim head-coach Ryan Mason and put in a solid display as Spurs beat Sheffield United 4-0 on Sunday, thanks to Gareth Bale’s hat-trick.

Asked by Standard Sport if Spurs fans have been the best of him at centre-half, Dier said: “I think they’ve seen it in periods.

“I’ve got mixed emotions towards it really. At times, I feel like it’s a bit unfair. Sometimes I’ve made a mistake or something has led to a goal and one mistake is talked about like it’s four or five. I’ve felt that at times.

“As defenders, you’re always going to make mistakes and the most important thing is how you react to them. I think fans have seen what I can do in glimpses, especially at the beginning of the season. I think I had a very good first six months and it dropped a little bit for a few games. But I feel like I’ve been back to a good place for a couple of months now.

“It’s just the narrative I see that is painted of me. It doesn’t really bother me too much. I just think it’s a bit unfair. It’s football. I just need to worry about myself and keep trying to do better. But I’m my own biggest critic and I know where I can improve and when I can improve.”

Getty Images
Getty Images

Dier has extra incentive to finish the season well as he battles for a place in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad, which the England manager is expected to name shortly after the end of the season on May 25.

“Obviously I want to be going to the Euros so I have to keep performing well in order to give myself that opportunity,” Dier said.

“I’m really happy to have played the last three. I’ve felt good in those games. I want to be playing, I want to be performing to a level I know I can. I believe I can still perform to a much higher level. I’m happy to be playing, obviously, and I’ve just got to keep working hard and improving.”

Dele Alli made only his third League start of the season against the Blades as part of a crowd-pleasing front four, also including Bale, Harry Kane and Heung-min Son, who scored a spectacular fourth goal.

Getty Images
Getty Images

“There is a lot of firepower there and a lot to back it up – their history, their goals and assists, and what they have done in the game,” Dier said.

“It’s a luxury to play behind them and with all of their qualities I think they complement each other really well. They each have slightly different qualities and it’s a pleasure to play with them.

“I thought Dele played really well. From the inside I can tell you he’s been working really hard and trained really well. And against Sheffield United he put that on the pitch.

“Everyone knows his qualities, but I think he also has a lot of qualities which go unnoticed. The amount of second balls he wins, the amount he runs for the team and presses.

“He’s always attached to the game, it’s like he’s on a string to the ball. He is always attached to the game in every moment and that’s a great quality to have.”

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