Tottenham needed to be ‘smarter’ in Chelsea FC defeat, says Eric Dier: ‘We can do so much better’

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·3-min read
Tottenham were brushed aside by Chelsea despite a strong first-half display (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
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Eric Dier has criticised Tottenham's lack of savvy in Sunday’s defeat by Chelsea and says the squad is "under no illusions" about the scale of improvement required.

Spurs went down 3-0 to a London rival for the second weekend running as second-half goals from Thiago Silva, N'Golo Kante and Antonio Rudiger took Chelsea top of the Premier League table.

Nuno Espirito Santo's side shaded a pulsating opening 45 minutes with a display of high-energy pressing football, quite unlike their pedestrianism at Crystal Palace last weekend, but conceded twice in 12 minutes following Kante's introduction at half-time.

Dier was frustrated that Spurs were not "smarter" between Silva heading home a corner and Kante’s shot, which took a wicked deflection off the centre-half, wrong-footing goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

"To concede two goals back-to-back so quickly is difficult," Dier said. "We just needed to be a bit smarter in that moment when we conceded the first.

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"Maybe come together more, stay in the game for five minutes and try to get back on the front foot. We were a little erratic in that moment. We conceded chances and then we were very unfortunate with the second goal. We saw almost an identical one in the Man United [versus West Ham] game earlier and there's nothing you can do about it. Hugo had no chance.

"It really was a game of two halves. We played very well in the first half and we have to focus on that, take the positives from that and build on it. Second half, they were the better team. We conceded the first goal very early in the second half and then lacked a bit of control to stay in the game and not concede the second.

"[We needed to] try to build and get back to the way were playing. But we conceded again and it became very difficult. We lacked that [control] a little bit but they were sloppy goals, all three of them. We can do so much better."

Rudiger added a third goal in stoppage time after Lloris had made a number of saves to keep the scoreline vaguely respectable, as Chelsea's superior bench and fitness told.

Back-to-back 3-0 defeats either side of an underwhelming draw at Rennes in the Europa Conference League have brought Spurs crashing back down to earth after they began Nuno's tenure with three straight 1-0 wins.

Tottenham were brushed aside by Chelsea despite a strong first-half display (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
Tottenham were brushed aside by Chelsea despite a strong first-half display (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

"I think the important thing is that we were under no illusions after the first three games that we had a lot to work on," Dier said.

"And we're the same now. We didn't get too carried away with those results and we shouldn't get too down now with these last two results. We know we have a lot to work on but I think we're going in the right direction. There was a great 45 minutes and now we need to find the consistency where we can do that for 90."

Spurs next travel to Nuno's former club Wolves for Wednesday's Carabao Cup third-round tie before a third consecutive League derby at north London rivals Arsenal on Sunday.

Nuno wants Spurs to use their first-half performance as a foundation for the future, suggesting he is prepared to continue with a more risky, adventurous approach.

"If there's only one positive, that was the first half," Nuno said. "We have a lot of things we need to improve, but the awareness of the first half must stick with us so we can build on it."

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