Michael Dawson has revealed that he was very surprised to see Antonio Conte rest Eric Dier for the clash at the Vitality Stadium, given the type of physicality that Bournemouth’s forwards play with.
Ahead of Spurs’ trip to the South Coast, Conte admitted that the game against Marseille on Tuesday would take priority over the one against the Cherries (Football.London).
The Tottenham head coach reasoned that while his side had time to recover ground in the Premier League, they could be knocked out of the Champions League if they fail to get a result in France.
While Cristian Romero did not make the matchday squad for Spurs on Saturday (along with long-term absentees Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski), Conte also chose to rest the likes of Rodrigo Bentancur, Eric Dier, Lucas Moura, Ivan Perisic and Matt Doherty.
Spurs’ makeshift back three of Davinson Sanchez, Clement Lenglet and Ben Davies struggled to cope with the physicality of Dominic Solanke and Kieffer Moore in the first half.
Dawson said that while he understands why Conte rotated his squad, he expected Dier to play in order to cope with Bournemouth’s longballs.
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The former Spurs centre-back told Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports (29/10/22 at 2:40 pm): “I’m not surprised he’s made changes. However, I am very surprised that there is no Eric Dier, who has been the rock at the back in recent weeks.
“You are going to Bournemouth, yes they are on the back of two bad results after Gary O’Neil was unbeaten in his first six.
“With Kieffer Moore, the ball will be coming in your box. That’s why I mentioned Eric Dier. Kieffer Moore is a big boy. They might play more direct.”
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Not only did we miss Dier’s physical presence at the back but we also looked completely disorganised in the first half without the 28-year-old’s leadership skills.
Lenglet did not do too badly in the middle but the Frenchman is not the sort of player to yell at his teammates to get back into position or go with a runner, which he needed to do at times on Saturday.