Jose Mourinho has praised Eric Dier’s performance during Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-2 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, in comments reported by Football London.
Spurs missed the chance to close the gap to the top four after throwing away a 2-1 lead against Nuno Espirito Santo’s men.
Tottenham seemed to struggle defensively. But Mourinho insisted that he was happy with Dier’s performance at the heart of the back three for Spurs.
“I think Eric played very well,” he said, as reported by Football London, when asked about Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen not starting. “If he had not played well then I would understand your question. The explanation is simple. Sanchez and Tanganga are our fastest centre-backs and Eric, as a midfield player, was the most comfortable in stepping between them and stepping up.
“I think they played well and especially Eric. I think sometimes when goals are scored you blame goalkeepers or defenders, but it’s a transition.”
In fairness to Dier, some of his statistics from the game were impressive. Whoscored.com shows that he won more tackles than any other Spurs player. He won all five of the challenges he attempted.
Meanwhile, he made 61 accurate passes. Only Diogo Jota, Harry Winks and Davinson Sanchez boasted better pass-completion rates.
But there were mistakes. Dier could have arguably done better for Wolves’s first goal. And there were perhaps question marks surrounding his role in their other two goals.
It would be unfair to place all of the blame at Dier’s door. A number of Tottenham players did not step up in the defeat.
It is a big shame that Dier seems to have struggled to recapture his old form over the last couple of years. He looked destined to be a key man for both club and country for years to come in the years following his move to the Premier League.
However, it has been difficult for Dier. So hopefully he will take a big boost of confidence from Mourinho’s assessment of his performance.