Eric Dier has admitted that he enjoys getting into battles with forwards on the pitch as that helps to bring the best out of him.
One of the themes of Amazon’s fly-on-the-wall documentary of Tottenham’s previous season is Jose Mourinho repeatedly asking his Tottenham players to stop being nice and develop a nasty streak on the pitch.
In the series, the Spurs boss is seen identifying Dier has one of the few players in the dressing room who enjoys conflict during matches, which perhaps goes on to show why the 26-year-old has been favoured since Mourinho’s arrival.
When asked what the Portuguese coach meant by his comment about him in the documentary, Dier told GQ: “I think for me to be at my best I really need to feel the game, you know? And it needs to be something that flows and is emotional.
“It’s difficult to explain. If someone annoys me in the first couple of minutes I tend to play very well. I enjoy it. I enjoy the conflict and I really enjoy having battles.
“I always say I miss Diego Costa in the Premier League – I loved to play against him because it was always a battle and, at the same time, it was always something where at the end of the game, you shake hands and you go your separate ways. In the end, you have a lot of respect for each other and I love that feeling.”
The defender also opened up on the unique experience of playing behind closed doors. While he admitted that there is nothing like playing in front of a packed stadium, he insisted that the current circumstances also enable teams to get a better understanding of their opposition.
The centre-back said: “Yeah, it’s a very strange experience you know (to play in empty stadiums) because since I was like 15, 16, you play in front of a couple of thousand people. It’s a very, very strange experience.
“But I think it’s interesting because you can also get a lot better feeling for your opponents because you can hear them talking, you can see in the other team who the leaders are, who talks a lot, who’s like pushing the team.
“I always use [Luka] Modric as an example, when we were playing Croatia. He really surprised me because I always have this idea of him being a bit of a quiet kind of person and obviously an incredible footballer, but because there’s no fans I could hear he was extremely vocal and demanding of his teammates.
“Also, these games are funny because you could have some banter with the striker you’re playing against, because you can hear each other, which you couldn’t before. So there are some funny things about it. But obviously, nothing can be like playing in front of 60-70,000 people.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It is clear that Dier is going to be a fixture at centre-back for us this season, with Alderweireld and Sanchez fighting it out to be his main partner. Some Spurs fans are already being hypercritical of the 26-year-old’s performances in central defence but he is bound to make a few errors as he adjusts back into his old position. I believe that he has all the attributes needed to be one of the top central defenders in the league and just needs time to prove himself.
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