Eric Dier was unaware of his manager Antonio Conte’s furious branding of his Tottenham players as “selfish” and lacking in responsibility as he stood outside St Mary’s. But the England defender pulled no punches of his own as he lambasted Spurs’ performance on the south coast as “sloppy” and insisted that Southampton had been there for the taking.
Whether the volatile Conte survives what seems like an open invitation for Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy to put him out of his misery after his extraordinary post-game outburst seems unlikely. Conte’s contract is up at the end of this season and it is expected he will leave – if not before.
Especially after he said of his club: “Tottenham’s story is this. 20 years there is the owner and they never won something.” With 16 minutes to play at St Mary’s, Tottenham, against the team bottom of the Premier League, led 3-1 and were in total control as they looked to hold on to fourth place.
Instead, they conceded two goals, to leave with only a point, with Newcastle now only two points behind them with two games in hand. But Dier basically agreed with his manager, saying: “They were really sloppy goals, all three of them. At 3-1 we should really control the ball better. Sloppy, sloppy goals.
“Not just the goal itself but all the lead-up to each goal is sloppy. At 3-1, we put ourselves in a position like we did last week against Nottingham Forest. But last week we were lucky, Fraser Forster saved a penalty and we saw the game out.
“We put ourselves in a position where we have to struggle for results every time, from leading in a comfortable position. I don’t think it’s a lack of concentration – although maybe it is, because it’s sloppiness.
“It’s like we want to make it difficult for ourselves. We need to be better at controlling the game when we’re in the lead. Controlling the ball better. Southampton were there for the taking. We could have created so many more chances with the way they set up.
“Our first goal, we could have created 20 chances like that if we were better. These are the games you need to win to try to fight for the top four. If we don’t win games like this, then we’re going to struggle.”
Tottenham defender Ben Davies suffered a suspected hamstring strain as he came off during the first half of the game at St Mary’s and is now a major doubt for Wales’ Euro 2024 qualifying games against Croatia and Latvia. The 29-year-old was taken off after just 37 minutes after pulling up, and will now have a scan on the injury to determine the extent of the damage.
Wales face Croatia in Split on Saturday and then Latvia in Cardiff next Tuesday as they open their campaign. Davies has 77 caps for his country. Spurs are also anxiously awaiting news on forward Richarlison, who left the field after only five minutes at St Mary’s.
Under-pressure manager Antonio Conte is already without captain Hugo Lloris, who has a knee problem, Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring), Rodrigo Bentancur (knee) and Yves Bissouma (ankle).
Leave a Reply