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Tottenham round-up: Dier urges club to ‘fulfil potential’; England man on ‘mixed’ start; Pochettino praises midfielder

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Speaking ahead of Tottenham’s critical London derby with West Ham tomorrow lunchtime, midfielder Eric Dier has admitted that he won’t be happy until they win a piece of silverware.

The north London side have come agonisingly close to that elusive Premier League title in the past two seasons, falling at the final hurdle on both occasions, and Dier now wants to go one step further.

Talking to Sky Sports, the England midfielder said: “I think we should be proud of what we’ve managed to do so far, but I don’t think we can be proud of achieving anything because I don’t think we have.

“As a group, I think we wouldn’t be happy unless we won something.

“I think the feeling was positive, we felt things were going in the right direction, and hopefully they will continue to. We might have challenged but we haven’t really done anything yet.”

The 23-year-old has issued a rallying cry ahead of Saturday’s short trip to the London Stadium, wanting Tottenham to go out there and avenge the defeat that ended their title hopes last year.

“It was really disappointing to go there and lose. The way we played, the intensity, the aggression, what Tottenham are known for now, was not there that day. We were disappointed.

“There’s a history there, of them being a thorn for us, so obviously we want revenge.”

Whilst they will be looking for revenge on one hand, on the other Tottenham will be looking to properly kick-start their 2017-18 campaign after a start to the year that Dier labelled a ‘mixed bag’.

“It’s been a mixed bag really, but there’s lots of room for improvement, we know that, and we’ve not really reached our level yet. I’m sure we will.

“The season is so, so long. Chelsea struggled at the beginning, and then ended up champions. Manchester City started strong last season and then peeled off. You really can’t tell after five games.”

Dier is expected to line-up in the midfield once again following the revelation of summer arrival Davinson Sanchez, and Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has praised the England man’s versatility.

Injury to Victor Wanyama has seen Dier take up a more advanced role frequently in the opening exchanges of the new season, and the Argentine has insisted that his utility man role is a strength.

Addressing the media, as relayed by talkSPORT, he said: “He can dominate different positions on the pitch and that is so fantastic – he can be top as a midfielder, centre-back or full-back. Then it is up to the manager to use him in different positions.”

Tottenham head in to Saturday’s clash with West Ham with a good recent away record, winning consecutive matches outside of north London, and they’ll look to keep pace with the early leaders.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

FA Cup

Three musts for Tottenham to achieve victory in their FA Cup semi-final

FA Cup success will be key to Tottenham’s season.

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Photo: Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur face off against Manchester United in a high-profile FA Cup semifinal on Saturday, undoubtedly marking their biggest match of the season.

Here are three things Spurs must do to secure their place in the May 19 final.

Get Eriksen involved

Christian Eriksen has perhaps been Spurs’ standout player this season, delivering consistently superb performances and chipping in with crucial goals.

In order for Spurs to gain the upper hand against the Red Devils, the Danish midfielder must control the game and be at the heart of every Spurs attack.

If Eriksen is at his unplayable best, he can combine effortlessly with the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli, and break down the United backline with ease.

Keep Lukaku quiet

Romelu Lukaku presents United’s most potent goalscoring threat, and with 27 goals to his name this season, is enjoying a career-best year.

Lukaku came off the bench against Bournemouth on Wednesday and slotted home an assured finish, marking his eighth goal in his last ten appearances for club and country.

The Belgian’s red-hot form will give Tottenham’s centre-backs cause for concern, but his Belgian international teammates will have to be more than up to the fight to nullify Lukaku.

Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld will know Lukaku’s strengths all too well and must be strong and resolute to deny the striker any whiff of goal.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Stop the feared United comeback

If Spurs end up taking the lead at Wembley, they must be vigilant of letting Manchester United back into the match.

The Red Devils have shown an incredible knack for getting back into matches; their 3-2 come-from-behind win at the Etihad is a prime example of that. United have also recently beat Crystal Palace after trailing 2-0, and clearly never consider themselves out of a match.

Tottenham must be mindful to not let their concentration slip when ahead, as Manchester United will surely make them pay.

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Arsenal

Who is best-placed to challenge Manchester City next season?

Pep Guardiola’s side will be looking to defend their title during the 2018/19 campaign.

Martyn Cooke

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Photo: Getty Images

Manchester City were crowned as Premier League champions on Sunday afternoon after Manchester United suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of struggling West Bromwich Albion.

Pep Guardiola’s team have ripped apart the top-flight of English football this season with a devastatingly effective style of play that has left their rivals struggling to hold on to their coattails.

City are currently 16 points clear of second place with five games still to play and now have the opportunity to break the 100-point barrier as the season comes to a conclusion.

Here, The Boot Room evaluate which top-six team is best placed to challenge Manchester City’s dominance next year.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Manchester United

There are currently mixed feelings around Old Trafford regarding how Manchester United have performed this season and the long-term direction of the club under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho.

A failure to maintain the astonishing pace set by Manchester City has left supporters having to be content with a top-four finish and FA Cup semi-final whilst there has been a deluge of criticism aimed at the pragmatic style of play utilised.

Mourinho remains one of the best managers in world football and he is still in the process of moulding a team in his own image.

The Portuguese maestro has already spent big in the transfer market, as demonstrated by the arrivals of Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku over the past two years, and the club are expected to make further significant investments in the summer.

He needs to find the missing piece to the Manchester United jigsaw and that will mean addressing the lop-sided defence, demonstrated by Ashley Young’s emergence as first-choice left-back.

Mourinho has overcome Guardiola in the past but there will be no room for excuses next season if, after two years of building a team, Manchester United are unable to challenge their cross-city rivals.

(Photo by Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur have continuously improved year-on-year under the stewardship of Mauricio Pochettino but you still feel that the club is some way behind their rivals in terms of winning the Premier League.

Spurs have a young, dynamic squad of players that play fast, attacking football and, in Harry Kane, they possess one of the best strikers in the world right now. However, something is still missing and it is hard to put your finger on exactly what it is.

Perhaps it is simply a mental issue? Tottenham have not won a league title since 1960 and last secured silverware of any kind almost a decade ago – do the current group of players have the right mentality or experience to enable them to maintain performances over the course of a full campaign? Their upcoming FA Cup semi-final may provide an insight later this month.

Whilst you feel that Tottenham will always be in and around the top spots next season, it is difficult to see them overcoming Manchester City without significant investment or Pochettino uncovering the magic formula.

(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Chelsea

Chelsea have offered a feeble and limp defence of their title this year and still face a scramble to secure a place in the top-four.

Things have clearly not been right behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge and Antonio Conte is expected to depart the club in the summer after spending much of the season snipping at the Chelsea hierarchy.

Regardless of who the Italian’s successor is, it is widely expected that the club will bounce back.

Under the ownership of Roman Abramovich, the Blues have continuously maintained their standing as one of the leading side’s in the country and you would imagine that the Russian oligarch will be keen to reclaim their crown next season.

Chelsea will spend big in the summer to ensure that they build a squad capable of challenging Manchester City and a striker will be top of the new manager’s wish list. Alvaro Morata made a positive start to the campaign but has struggled for form and fitness in the second half of the season.

If the Blues can make the right appointment in the dugout and strengthen significantly on the pitch then history suggests they will be in and around the top spots.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Liverpool

Since arriving at Anfield in October 2015 Jurgen Klopp thrown himself into the task of restoring Liverpool’s status as one of the leading club’s in Europe.

Each transfer window has seen the squad steadily improve and you now feel that the German has built a team that is capable of challenging for both domestic and European silverware.

Liverpool have a reputation for producing attacking, dynamic and exciting football and the attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino possess an abundance of pace, power and creativity.

Under the stewardship of Klopp, the team have always looked capable of scoring goals but have regularly been criticised for being undermined by defensive fragile and frail.

However, the signing of Virgil Van Dijk in January, the emergence of John Robertson and the new-found confidence of Loris Karius appears to have put some of those concerns to bed – Liverpool have kept eight clean sheets in their last 12 matches in all competitions.

Klopp will continue to develop the squad during the summer and, as proven by their historic victory over Manchester City, the Reds are certainly heading in the right direction.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Arsenal

There has continued to be a degree of frustration and dissatisfaction around the Emirates Stadium this season as Arsenal have continued to fall behind their rivals on the pitch.

The Gunners are currently 33 points behind Manchester City in the Premier League are relying on winning the Europa League in order to qualify for the Champions League next year.

The club under-performed last season, failing to qualify for Europe’s premier competition, and the decline has continued over the following twelve months with supporters becoming increasingly frustrated with Arsene Wenger’s failure to consistently secure positive results.

The same old problems persist – there is a lack of leaders, a lack of quality in central defence and no commanding midfield player.

Wenger has brought together an exciting forward line that possesses pace, power and experience with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan arriving in January to complement the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and a fit-again Danny Welbeck.

However, Arsenal continue to be undermined by prevalent weaknesses throughout the remainder of the team and there are currently a world away from competing with Manchester City.

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PSG

Tottenham should learn Aurier lesson and resist buying Layvin Kurzawa

The Frenchman is being linked with a summer move to the Lilywhites.

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Layvin Kurzawa
Photo: Getty Images

Reports this week in France from RMC Sport have linked Paris Saint Germain left-back Layvin Kurzawa with a summer move to Tottenham Hotspur, as Mauricio Pochettino looks to strengthen his side after the anticipated departure of Danny Rose.

But the purchase of the French fullback would prove to be an expensive mistake, just like the signing of Serge Aurier was last summer.

Tottenham already have a brilliant left-sided fullback in the form of Welshman Ben Davies, a player who was desperately unlucky to miss out on the PFA Team of the Year after an outstanding season.

Davies has contributed two goals and six assists for Spurs this season, an impressive attacking outlay for a defender.

Perhaps more importantly, he has stood out with his solid defensive performances, which have led the north London club to concede the third-fewest goals in the Premier League.

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

It is clear that Spurs already possess a top quality left back; there is no need to splash unnecessary funds to secure Kurzawa in the offseason.

Tottenham should have learned their lesson from the poor signing of Serge Aurier from the French champions in August 2017. The Ivory Coast international has been limited to just 16 first team league appearances thus far, often playing second fiddle to Kieran Trippier.

And when Aurier has played, he has been erratic and inconsistent. He has picked up a multitude of bookings and has been sent off once, as well as conceding numerous penalties with poorly-timed challenges.

Aurier cost Spurs a hefty £23 million in the summer, and it is to be expected Kurzawa will be in a similar price range. Tottenham would be wise to learn from their previous mistake and pass on the transfer of the French fullback.

Already retaining the services of a world-class defender in the same position, the multimillion-pound signing of the PSG man would prove to be a pricey waste that would only disrupt team chemistry.

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