High-flying Tottenham have nothing to fear from Europa League rivals, says Eric Dier
Eric Dier says Tottenham’s high-flying status in the Premier League means they have nothing to fear from their Europa League rivals as they move into the last 16.
Fiorentina lie third in Italy’s Serie A, six points behind leaders Juventus, but they were comprehensively beaten at White Hart Lane last night (Thursday), losing 3-0 to a Spurs side who have their own title ambitions, sitting two points off the top in England’s top flight.
“They’re a very good side but we’re second in the Premier League so, with them being third, I think if we’re not above them we’re at the same level,” said Dier.
“We weren’t looking at them as being a bigger team than us or anything, we look at them as equals. They gave us a very tough match but we’ve done well.
“They’re a very good side - maybe the result doesn’t really show the effort we had to put in against them - but at the moment we feel we can beat anyone. We play without fear and we go for it and we’ve proved that again.”
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Tottenham had suffered a home defeat in their previous outing, losing 1-0 to London rivals Crystal Palace and exiting the FA Cup on Sunday, so Dier was pleased with the response against Fiorentina.
“The only way is to get a win straight away,” he said. “That’s a big team’s mentality – when you lose a game you bounce back immediately, and we’ve managed to do that, which is a good sign.”
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Spurs now return their focus to their Premier League title challenge and three top-flight fixtures in the space of a week.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side host Swansea on Sunday before visiting West Ham on Wednesday and then welcoming Arsenal to White Hart Lane for a mouth-watering north London derby next Saturday.
“Every game’s huge now until the end of the season so we’ve got to be ready for it,” said Dier. “I think this was probably the first big game where we’re heading into the end of the season – this was the first one [against Fiorentina] and we’ve done well so hopefully we can continue this way.
“We’ve had a lot of weeks like this so we’re used to it and it’s always nice to get a good win going into those three games. It puts us in a nice position going into the league now.
“With the FA Cup and the Europa League, we’ve managed to rotate a bit so everyone’s had a rest and everyone’s got minutes under their belts. I think as a squad we’re in a very good position physically and mentally going into the final stage.
“It’s the Premier League and there are 12 games left so there’s going to be lots of twists and turns. I don’t think next week’s going to determine anything. We’ll take it one game at a time. We’re just looking at Sunday and we’ll move on from there.”
Harry Kane is expected to be available to face Swansea on Sunday, having missed last night’s European clash due to a broken nose – but Spurs have suggested they can cope without their striker if necessary, having scored three times against Fiorentina.
“I think we’ve got a lot of players that can score goals,” said Dier. “We’ve got midfielders, defenders, we’re strong from set pieces as well.
“We’ve got midfielders who can score – Nacer [Chadli], Christian [Eriksen], Dele [Alli], Sonny [Heung-Min Son], Erik Lamela. I think there are goals everywhere, it’s just a question of taking their chances when they get them, and they did that.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs