Fearless Spurs will go toe to toe with Man City, says Eric Dier
Eric Dier says Tottenham have no fear of facing the Premier League’s elite teams now and will stand “toe to toe” with leaders Manchester City at White Hart Lane tomorrow (Saturday).
Spurs had a period where they struggled to match the best sides in the top flight, suffering heavy defeats under Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood in 2013-14 and then conceding 10 goals in three losses against Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea in the first half of Mauricio Pochettino’s first season in charge last term.
However, home wins over eventual champions Chelsea and Arsenal at the start of 2015 gave the Lilywhites renewed belief.
And, while they have lost seven of their last eight games against City – conceding 26 goals in the process – they were a little unfortunate to lose 1-0 against Manuel Pellegrini’s side at the Lane in the last encounter in May.
“I think we have got over this thing about the bigger teams and we go into it with a different mentality now,” said Dier.
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“If you look back to the beginning of last season [and compare it] to now, we go into these games with a completely different mentality and we fight them toe to toe. Hopefully we can do that on Saturday.
“We were disappointed with our results against them [City] last season because we held our own against all the other big teams in the league, apart from City last year [Spurs lost 4-1 at the Etihad and 1-0 the Lane] and Manchester United away [a 3-0 defeat in May]. We will be looking to put that right.
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“I look forward to it. We’re a young team and we can test ourselves playing against a very good Manchester City side. I don’t think we should look at the game with fear. We’re a young team and we should look at it as a test and try and get something out of it.”
Having won three games in a row in all competitions, Spurs suffered a setback on Wednesday night when they lost 2-1 at home to north London rivals Arsenal in the Capital One Cup.
But Dier feels the big match against City on Saturday gives the Lilywhites the ideal opportunity to respond and show what they are capable of.
“It’s true, it’s great,” he said. “These are the games that everyone wants to play in, they’re the big ones and the fans will be up for it, for sure. It’s a great way to bounce back and we’ve got to try and put things right on Saturday.
“I think it’s a great time [for us to play City]. Even against Arsenal we played well. We have been playing very well, keeping clean sheets and going about our business quite quietly, which is good. We’ve kept three clean sheets in the league and we’ve got to try and get another one on Saturday.”
Dier struggled to hold down a regular first-team place in his first season at Tottenham last year but, having been asked to play as a holding midfielder from the start of this campaign, he is now one of the first names on the teamsheet. The 21-year-old is the only player to start all of Spurs’ first eight games of the season
“I’m enjoying it but you can never rest on your laurels,” he said. “I know there are a couple of injuries that have maybe forced the manager to do that [pick me in every game].
“I’ve got to keep putting in good performances every time I get a chance and keep up high standards, or it can change very quickly.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs