Eric Dier frustrated with Tottenham Hotspur’s draw with West Bromwich Albion and the visitors’ time-wasting
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Hugo Lloris echoes the sentiments of the Spurs midfielder and feels they must be more aggresive with the ball at Wembley
Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier has expressed his frustration at the fact that referee Mike Jones waited until the 81st minute to book West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster for time-wasting during Saturday’s 1-1 draw.
The Baggies took a fourth-minute lead at Wembley and Foster seemed intent on slowing the game down from that moment on, holding the ball in his hands for as long as possible and even nipping behind his net to prod the ball away from a ball boy in the first half.
Foster was eventually shown a yellow card in the final 10 minutes but Dier feels he should have been punished far earlier – and he reports the referee even admitted to Spurs’ players that he was nervous of penalising the visiting custodian for his actions.
“If you were to watch the game again and just add up from the first minute the amount of time that was wasted from their goalkeeper, I think you’d find quite a big number,” said Dier.
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“It’s confusing that you wait until the 80th minute to penalise it when it’s been happening from the first minute. It’s something I really don’t understand, it doesn’t make sense.
“He said that he doesn’t want to be the referee that blows the whistle for someone holding the ball longer than six seconds, because no-one does. But if someone doesn’t do it then the goalkeeper’s going to end up holding the ball for 30 seconds, 45 seconds.
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“I think it’s [meant to be] six seconds and sometimes it was a lot longer than 20 seconds, for sure - I guarantee you.
“I think it helps the ref to stop it early doors with warnings, yellow cards. But it makes no sense for us if it’s [happening] in the 20th minute [to wait] until the 80th minute, because by then it’s too late.”
Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris echoed those sentiments. Asked whether time-wasting is simply common practice for goalkeepers, the Frenchman replied: “No, not after 10 minutes of the game.
“It’s part of the game but it belongs to the referee to take the right decision at the right moment and to make the players understand that they cannot do that all the game.
“If you give a yellow card after 35 minutes he will not do it again. If the referee says nothing, obviously the keeper will keep doing it. But this is nothing in the game. I prefer to talk about our side and the way we played. It was not enough.”
Tottenham were contemplating a home defeat and their fans were quiet for long periods until Harry Kane’s 74th-minute equaliser. Nonetheless, Dier took little joy from the comeback and the result.
“Drawing’s never positive, especially at home, against anyone,” he said. “We want to win every game so drawing’s never positive. We’re happy we managed to at least take a point after being 1-0 down but we wanted to win, of course.
“Against certain teams, they come and they make it really difficult. West Brom were pretty much within their penalty area, 10 players. It’s hard to break down.
“In terms of the atmosphere, I think it’s something that’s really 50/50. We have to entertain and do our part and the fans have to do their part.”
Manchester City’s victory at Huddersfield on Sunday has now taken them 13 points clear of fifth-placed Spurs and eight ahead of their nearest pursuers. But Dier feels it is too soon to give up the chase and make solid judgements about who will win the title.
“There’s so far to go,” he said. “We’re starting to get into the really busy period around Christmas, which is really key. If we want any chance we have to have a great festive period. I think only after the festive period, maybe at the end of January, that’s where you have a clearer idea of where everyone is.
“In the seasons I’ve been here we’ve had really strong festive periods and that’s where we’ve caught up a lot of teams and put pressure on teams. We’ve just got to focus on ourselves and try to have a really good run of games now.
“It’s the Premier League. It’s the most exciting league in the world for a reason. Every season it goes down to the last couple of games and I don’t think this season will be any different.”
While Tottenham have beaten Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Real Madrid at Wembley this season, they continue to struggle to break down defensive visitors.
They have only scored four goals across their five home games against Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and West Brom, winning just two of those contests and drawing the other three.
In the build-up to Saturday’s match against the Baggies, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino stressed the importance of having “good individual quality one v one” and being able to “beat the opponent in a short space”. Lloris still feels that is an area for improvement.
“When you play against teams very deep, very low, you need to have the capacity and ability to create spaces, to go and [pin] players in the box one v one and try to get free kicks and penalties, to try to put more pressure on than we made in front of their goal,” said the skipper.
“It’s about intensity and energy. It’s a good thing to have the quality to make passing and moving, passing and moving, but one time you need to go and pin a player and be more aggressive in the box, and that’s what we missed a little bit.
“You need to respect the game, not try to cheat. There are rules - but if you are more aggressive in the box it’s difficult for the opponent; in your run, the way you demand the ball, pass the ball, kick the ball.
“A lot of things are different [to our home form last season] – the context, the stadium, maybe even the crowd. It’s a new place that we have to deal with. But the solution belongs to us.
“I think it’s the same for every team involved in the Champions League. It’s not easy to compete in both competitions, and the difference between this season and last season is we finished top in our Champions League group stage, so it’s a big improvement and a big achievement. But we need to carry on, stay positive.”
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