Eric Dier has given an honest insight into how the Tottenham team have evolved since Jose Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino at the helm in November 2019.
Spurs went close to winning the title on a couple of occasions under Pochettino but talk of a title challenge seems to be much more realistic this time around, with a seasoned winner like Mourinho at the helm who has won the Premier League thrice in his career.
As opposed to previous Spurs’ title tilts under Pochettino, which were built primarily on an aggressive, pro-active style of play Tottenham now seem a more defensively disciplined outfit that relies on hitting teams on the counter-attack.
Dier believes that the team now has more tools in their arsenal and admitted that the squad is stronger than it has ever been in the past.
He told Sky Sports: “I’d say this team is probably more pragmatic. I think we still possess a lot of the qualities we had during that spell [under Pochettino], I think we’re all a bit older, a bit more mature, we’ve all seen a bit more, and we’re ready to do different things compared to when you’re younger.
“I feel like it’s a much more mature team, and the depth of the squad is not something I’ve seen during my time here, we’ve got an incredible depth. The amount of quality we have coming off the bench, and not even in the squad, is incredible.
“That competition is definitely driving things, and I think that’s something in the past we struggled with, not having that competition to drive things. You want to have your own self-motivation, but you can’t deny it’s different when it’s a big squad, and everyone is driving each other.
“He’s (Mourinho) definitely putting his stamp on the club, on the team and the players individually. He’s definitely implementing the things he wants to see. He wants us to be a representation of himself. Tough is definitely one of the words I’d use to describe him and this team.”
The central defender also admitted to being delighted by his own form, on the back of what had been two extremely difficult years for him.
Dier said: “I feel very, very good. I’m happy to be playing where I am. I had a difficult time, mainly just through illness, but to be playing where I want, playing regularly, I feel in a very good place. I believe in what I can achieve there, and I am determined to do it.
“You’re always trying to improve, and I’m definitely improving, this is the start of a new chapter for me playing in a new position.”
When asked whether he has put his versatility to one side to focus on the specifics of playing as a centre-back, the England international responded: “I feel like I have.
“Last season I had that conversation with both managers, and I made that commitment, I felt like it was the right time.
“My feeling is that centre-back is where I’ve always felt I can be at my best, and there’s still a lot more to come from me in that position, but I’m very happy to be there now, and I’m solely focused on that.”
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