EPL

Tottenham defender Dier questions 'unfair' criticism

By Sports Desk May 04, 2021

Tottenham defender Eric Dier has questioned the "unfair" criticism he has received since shifting to centre-back but accepts he can still improve in that position.

The England international, formerly deployed in holding midfield, was dropped towards the end of Jose Mourinho's tenure for what the ex-Spurs boss put down to "a lack of confidence" following some high-profile errors.

Dier returned to the side for Mourinho's final two games in charge, however, and has retained his place in the heart of defence for interim manager Ryan Mason's first three games, including the EFL Cup final loss to Manchester City.

He impressed in Sunday's 4-0 win over Sheffield United by making more clearances (five) than any player on the field, while he was involved in four times as many aerial duels (eight) as any other Spurs player, 75 per cent of which he won.

After looking more commanding since being recalled to the starting line-up, Dier feels that he has been harshly judged in the past.

Asked if Tottenham fans have seen the best of him since moving into a deeper position, 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 and a bit – I'm trying to think of the right words – 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 at times and the most important thing is how you react to them."

While Dier has not made any errors that directly resulted in a goal this term, he has conceded two penalties in the Premier League, the joint-most in the division.

This is likely partly to blame for criticism of Dier, though he has also proven himself ready to put his body on the line for Spurs.

Dier has made an average of 1.1 blocks per 90 minutes in the Premier League this term, with only Japhet Tanganga averaging more among Tottenham players – but he has only featured four times.

The 27-year-old's tackle-success rate of 65 per cent is similarly high in the context of the Spurs squad, with Moussa Sissoko (72.7 per cent) and Giovani Lo Celso (81.8 per cent) the only individuals to have made more than four appearances to post a better record.

"I'm really happy to have played the last few matches. I've felt good in those games. I want to be playing, I want to be performing to a level I know I can," Dier added.

"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.

"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."

Related items

  • Manchester United 1-0 West Ham: Rashford late show stuns Hammers Manchester United 1-0 West Ham: Rashford late show stuns Hammers

    Marcus Rashford hit a last-gasp winner as Manchester United jumped ahead of West Ham in the race for the Champions League with a 1-0 Old Trafford success.

    A drab game looked destined to end in goalless stalemate until Edinson Cavani's low cross from the left was turned in from close range by fellow substitute Rashford in the third minute of stoppage time.

    Cavani appeared to be possibly offside when he collected a pass from Anthony Martial, but a VAR review allowed the goal to stand, leaving the Hammers devastated.

    The result means West Ham manager David Moyes has now not won an away league match against his former club in 15 attempts (L11 D4).

  • Xhaka does not think he can change despite red card tally Xhaka does not think he can change despite red card tally

    Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka accepts he needs to "improve" his disciplinary record, but he does not think he can change his approach.

    Xhaka attracted widespread criticism after he was sent off in Arsenal's EFL Cup semi-final first leg draw with Liverpool.

    The Switzerland international made a wild lunge on Diogo Jota in the first half, with the Liverpool man looking to bring down a lofted pass before he received a high kick from Xhaka.

    It was by no means the first time Xhaka's discipline has been called into question – that was his fifth red card since joining Arsenal in 2016, the joint-most of any Premier League player in that time.

    But he does not think changing his game is possible, pointing out that it is not as if he is doing it on purpose.

    "It's not like I'm planning this," he told Sky Sports prior to Liverpool's 2-0 win in Thursday's semi-final second leg. "It's not like I'm doing this on purpose, but sometimes I am in a position where I have to take a 50:50.

    "It's risky, of course. Now people will say, 'Yeah, but why do you always [take] risks?' This is who I am. I can't change myself from today to tomorrow.

    "Of course, I need to improve and I know I need to improve, but in this moment, if Jota takes the ball and he scores, they will say again, 'Why didn't you stop him?' Now, I stop him, they say, 'Why do you get the red card?'

    "In the end, after the game, everyone is smarter than in the moment – myself as well. Of course, when I see it back now and say, 'Do I need to go into the duel or not?' No.

    "But it is a moment, a second, where I have to make a decision and this time I made the wrong one and I feel sorry for the team, I feel sorry for the supporters, but thank God they did an amazing job after that."

    Concerns over Xhaka's decision-making has not been limited to just red cards, though, as he also has a poor record when it comes to conceding penalties.

    He has committed six offences that led to spot-kicks during his Arsenal career, with only David Luiz, Fernandinho (both seven) and Wilfred Ndidi conceding more over the same period.

    The most recent of Xhaka's six came against Manchester City on New Year's Day, with the Arsenal man penalise for a coming together with Bernardo Silva – while there was contact, the Portugal star appeared to throw himself to the floor in a theatrical manner.

    Referee Stuart Attwell did not immediately award the penalty, only doing so after a VAR check, and Xhaka voiced his frustration with situations like these.

    "If you if you look in slow motion, every duel, every foul looks too much," he added. "[Against City], he [Attwell] had decided already it wasn't a penalty.

    "But after, they go to VAR and check and check and check. The thing is, they are checking two pictures, three pictures, and they are not seeing all the action.

    "I hope that in the future the referees can make their own decisions. Don't let the people from outside look in slow motion and stuff like this because I believe in a slow motion, everything looks harder than it is.

    "In the end, they are human beings as well. They make mistakes as well. This is part of the job. Everyone makes mistakes. We have to accept decisions and look forward."

  • Brentford's Premier League clash with Wolves halted by rogue drone Brentford's Premier League clash with Wolves halted by rogue drone

    Brentford's Premier League meeting with Wolves was temporarily suspended because of a rogue drone circling above the stadium.

    Saturday's game at the Brentford Community Stadium had already been halted following a nasty clash of heads between Brentford team-mates Mathias Jensen and Rico Henry.

    The match was then stopped again with 30 minutes played in bizarre circumstances due to an "unauthorised" aircraft hovering overhead.

    The drone soon disappeared and, after a 15-minute delay, both sets of players returned to the field to warm-up and the goalless contest resumed.

    The two stoppages meant that an additional 28 minutes were played at the end of the first half in west London.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.