Eric Dier exclusive: Jose Mourinho has made Tottenham more pragmatic and mature

Eric Dier opens up on how Spurs have changed under Jose Mourinho, and why he is parking versatility for a centre-back spot; Watch Chelsea vs Tottenham live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm

Eric Dier
Image: In an exclusive interview, Eric Dier explains the impact Jose Mourinho has had at Tottenham

In an exclusive interview, Eric Dier tells Sky Sports how Tottenham have more depth, maturity and pragmatism under Jose Mourinho.

Tottenham go to Chelsea on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports, in a battle between two of the most in-form sides in the Premier League. Spurs are unbeaten in eight and have conceded just eight goals since their opening-day defeat by Everton.

Mourinho looks to have stamped his mark on this Tottenham side, and their statement victory over Manchester City last weekend had many pondering whether he could lead them to a first league title since 1961.

Live Renault Super Sunday

Asked how Spurs have changed under Mourinho, just over a year since he replaced Mauricio Pochettino, Dier also revealed an increased competition for places has driven Spurs' players to improve.

He told Sky Sports: "I'd say this team is probably more pragmatic. I think we still possess a lot of the qualities we had during that spell [under Pochettino], I think we're all a bit older, a bit more mature, we've all seen a bit more, and we're ready to do different things compared to when you're younger.

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg is congratulated by his manager after the win
Image: Dier: "Tough is definitely one of the words I'd use to describe him, and this team."

"I feel like it's a much more mature team, and the depth of the squad is not something I've seen during my time here, we've got an incredible depth. The amount of quality we have coming off the bench, and not even in the squad, is incredible.

"That competition is definitely driving things, and I think that's something in the past we struggled with, not having that competition to drive things. You want to have your own self-motivation, but you can't deny it's different when it's a big squad, and everyone is driving each other.

Also See:

"He's definitely putting his stamp on the club, on the team and the players individually. He's definitely implementing the things he wants to see. He wants us to be a representation of himself. Tough is definitely one of the words I'd use to describe him, and this team."

Dier believes something big is happening at Spurs, and revealed the club struggled to recover from their Champions League final defeat by Liverpool in 2019, seeing this season as a clean slate.

Eric Dier
Image: Dier and Spurs go to Chelsea in a battle between two of the most in-form Premier League sides

"[Is something happening here?] It definitely feels that way. We had a really bad season last season, after the Champions League final I think it was very difficult to come back from that, having been so close to something so big.

"When the next season came around I felt like the whole club wasn't ready for it, having been in that moment and not making it. To have a clean slate with the season with the manager, is something completely new. Having a pre-season, albeit a small one, with the manager, it's definitely the start of something new.

"Last season was just a difficult time, even when the new manager came in, it definitely wasn't easy. It definitely feels like we're building something new, I feel like the foundations are there, and it's up to us to make it what we want it to be."

Dier says he has parked versatility to focus on his role as a centre-back
Image: Dier says he has parked versatility to focus on his role as a centre-back

In-form Dier has impressed in recent weeks at the heart of Mourinho's defence, and the 26-year-old feels he is now set on a position, rather than being seen as a versatile player.

Asked about his form, Dier joked: "It's been a while! I feel very, very good. I'm happy to be playing where I am. I had a difficult time, mainly just through illness, but to be playing where I want, playing regularly, I feel in a very good place. I believe in what I can achieve there, and I am determined to do it.

preview image 5:02
Harry Kane tops the assist charts in the Premier League this season - watch all nine of them so far

"You're always trying to improve, and I'm definitely improving, this is the start of a new chapter for me playing in a new position."

Asked if he has parked his versatility, he added: "I feel like I have. Last season I had that conversation with both managers, and I made that commitment, I felt like it was the right time. My feeling is that centre-back is where I've always felt I can be at my best, and there's still a lot more to come from me in that position, but I'm very happy to be there now, and I'm solely focused on that."

Win £250,000 for free with Super 6!

Win £250,000 for free with Super 6!

Do not miss your chance to land the £250,000 in Saturday's Super 6 round. Play for free, entries by 3:00pm.

Around Sky