Eric Dier has hit out at the use of the word ‘Spursy’ to describe Tottenham Hotspur’s failure in the big moments to win silverware in recent seasons.
The term has been used whenever Spurs have fallen short in big moments in recent years and it was a tag that Mauricio Pochettino tried to shed and Jose Mourinho now dismisses entirely.
Now Dier has launched into his own attack on the word.
“That’s something that’s quite frustrating to be honest because I think, as I said before, there were seasons where we finished second in the league and people called it Spursy,” he said.
“We finished second. We just didn’t manage to win it and people were calling that Spursy. I don’t believe this team has had that tag for a long time.
“I don’t think teams enjoy playing us. I think we’re physical, I think we’re aggressive, I think we’re determined, we’ve got a good attitude and the manager has definitely brought an extra edge to that.
“He’s more demanding in certain areas and ruthless with you individually and as a team so he’s definitely increased that a bit as well.”
After Saturday’s 2-0 victory against Manchester City, Pep Guardiola spoke about the physicality of this Tottenham side and that is something Mourinho has called for since joining a year ago, a nastier streak to the team’s play.
However, Dier believes that’s not a new development in the north London club’s approach.
““For me, I think we’ve always had that. From the time I’ve been at Tottenham, I feel like we’ve always performed in these big games. Maybe we’ve not always got the results, but we’ve always performed,” he said.
“For me, it’s more about and applies more to the games like West Brom away but this time we’ve had to suffer a bit there and managed to win 1-0.
“It’s in those kind of games when it’s really important to be a big nasty, to be a bit ruthless in those difficult games away from home against difficult sides. I think those are the games we’ve suffered more in.”
With Dier in the backline, Spurs have begun to improve their defensive efforts with four clean sheets in their last seven matches and just three goals conceded.
“I said after the West Brom that, as a defence, if we can keep clean sheets then I believe that in every game we will score goals with the attacking threats that we have and how clinical they are and how ruthless they’ve been,” he explained.
“It’s a matter of us performing defensively because if we do that then we’ll win games.”
After the big win against City, the England international was remaining calm and focused.
“It probably sounds boring but, for us, nothing really changes,” he said. “We are going game by game, we’re trying to win every game that we can and that’s the most important thing for us.”
Tottenham sit top of the Premier League table, the first time they have done so after nine or more games since January 1985, and Dier wants to remain at the summit.
“We’re top for now, let’s see what happens and we’re going to try and stay there. We’d be stupid not to and, as I said, we’re going to be trying to win every game,” he said.
“Obviously we’ve got a Europa League game next so all the focus will be on that.
“Then back on the Premier League, but really, the mentality is game by game and every game we go into, we’re trying to win it, no matter the game, tournament, the opposition, it doesn’t matter, We’re trying to win every game.”