Eric Dier has opened up on his personal fitness this season, as well as Tottenham’s mixed start to the campaign and how the side can keep improving going forward.
The 27-year-old has found a new lease of life under Nuno Espirito Santo, once again becoming one of the first names on the Portuguese coach’s team sheet.
Dier has seemingly managed to turn his fortunes around at the club after enduring a couple of difficult campaigns tainted with inconsistency which threatened his position in the pecking order.
However, he has started all seven of Tottenham’s games in the Premier League so far this season, and he believes he has hit a healthy spell of form in central defence which is something he aims to build on.
Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “Yes, I feel good, really good. I felt really good after the first three games of the season, three wins, three clean sheets.
“Obviously, the injury at Palace set me back a little. I’m just starting to feel 100 per cent again after that. It was a dead leg.
“I felt good against Villa, and I’m happy with my performance, there’s always things to build on and improve, but I feel good. I’m staying calm, building into the season, and trying to get better and better as the season goes on.”
Nuno, who signed a two-year contract at Spurs in the summer, brought an end to a managerial search spanning 72 days following the sacking of Jose Mourinho back in April.
The Portuguese hit the ground running in North London, notching three wins from his opening three games, but saw his side’s form fall off a cliff after the first international break.
Spurs then fell to three defeats in a row at the hands of Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal, but stopped the rot against Aston Villa ahead of the second pause of the campaign.
Dier believes Spurs had to deal with ‘a lot of adversity’ during that rocky patch of form between international breaks, and feels the side paid the price for failing to take chances in the home defeat to Chelsea last month.
He added: “It’s been a difficult period since the last international break, two very contrasting periods from three wins out of three, the international break, to this period now. It’s been a tough one for us. There are so many factors in that.
“Palace, that can happen under those circumstances, down to 10 men, a couple of injuries. We went into that game in a great place but then got hit by a lot of adversity.
“Chelsea, that was a game of two halves, really, and you could say we didn’t take our chances in the first half, and they took theirs in the second half.”
“Arsenal was nothing but disappointing. But the best way to get past that is the reaction, and we showed a great reaction in the way we played in every way against Villa, with and without the ball, the commitment, the approach to the game, the attitude, everything was good.
“That was really important for us as players to show that reaction for ourselves, not anyone else, but ourselves.
“We are a lot better than what we showed at Arsenal, and there were things lacking at Arsenal that were nothing to do with quality or tactics or anything else. The basics were missing, so we had a lot to prove to ourselves.”
For Spurs, the most damaging defeat during that three-match run was the 3-1 loss against the Gunners – mostly due to its implications regarding North London bragging rights, and it being the side’s third league defeat in a row.
Dier continued: “It hurts because it’s more than a game. It does bother you a lot. There were sleepless nights after that game. But I believe over the course of the season, and I’ve said before after results like that, I still believe we’re a good team and we will show that.
“That one game does mean a lot, but it’s not all or nothing. It’s early in the season, we have to stay calm and by ‘we’, I mean ‘we’ – we have to work together, improve together, gel together and I think we will.
“I think we’ll get into a good place with all the players up to speed.”
Spurs made sure they responded from their derby setback the following week against Villa by recording a 2-1 win and a much better showing at home against Dean Smith’s side.
Dier feels the team showed good spirit to respond after a tough couple of weeks, and he believes Spurs should look to build on the foundations of that performance going forward.
He said: “I’m a strong believer in that there are fundamentals that should always be there.
“Mistakes happen, you win or lose, that happens in sport, but the fundamentals have to be there and we’re a team where generally they are, we just need to find them on a more consistent basis.
“They were definitely there against Villa, you could feel it from the energy in the stadium. We need to build a base for ourselves from home where there is that connection between the players and fans.
“It’s give and take. We need to give and there are times where they’ll need us to lift them, and times where we’ll need them to lift us. It was great to get back on track.”
Spurs Web Opinion
This was a good and honest assessment overall by Dier, who understands the team has suffered form-wise in recent weeks. His comments indicate the team will look to build on the Villa performance, and hopefully, that can be done step-by-step.
Have something to tell us about this article?