Tottenham defender Eric Dier has questioned the “unfair” criticism he has received since switching to center-back, but accepts he can still improve in that position.
The English international, who was previously deployed to hold the midfield, was dropped towards the end of Jose Mourinho’s mandate for what the former Spurs boss put down to “lack of confidence” after some high-profile mistakes.
Dier returned to the side for Mourinho’s last two league games, however, and has retained his place at the heart of the defense of 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 giving more clearances (five) than any player on the pitch, while being involved in four times as many aerial duels (eight) as any other Spurs player, 75 percent of whom he won.
After looking more commanding since he was recalled to the starting lineup, Dier feels he has been harshly judged in the past.
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– Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 30, 2021
Asked if Tottenham fans have seen the best of him since moving into a deeper position, Dier said: “I think they have seen it at times. I have really mixed feelings about it.
“Sometimes I want it to be a little unfair and a little – I try to think of the right words – sometimes I have made a mistake, or something has led to a goal, and there is talk of a mistake as if it is four or five.
“It simply came to my notice then. As defenders, you will always make mistakes, and the most important thing is how you react to them. ”
While Dier has not made mistakes that directly resulted in a goal during this period, he has admitted two penalties in the Premier League, the most common in the division.
This is probably due in part to the blame for criticism of Dier, though he has also proven ready to put his body on the field for Spurs.
Dier has made an average of 1.1 blocks per. 90 minutes in the Premier League this season, when only Japhet Tanganga has an average of more among Tottenham players – but he has only been with four times.
The 27-year-old’s tackle rate of 65 percent is similarly high in the Spurs team, with Moussa Sissoko (72.7 percent) and Giovani Lo Celso (81.8 percent) being the only people to have earned more than four appearances for to send a better record.
“I’m really happy to have played the last couple of games. I’ve enjoyed these games. I want to play, I want to perform to a level I know I can, ”Dier added.
“I think I had a very good first half year and it fell a bit for a couple of games, but I feel like I have been back in a good place for a couple of months now.
“I think I can still perform to a much higher level. I am obviously happy to play and I just have to keep working hard and improving myself. ”