Tottenham’s manager claims Jose Mourinho played the biggest part in the controversial story of Eric Dier.
Mauricio Pochettino openly talked about a 2016 incident involving Jose Mourinho and Eric Dier, saying that the Manchester United manager caused the Tottenham Hotspur player’s feeling of insecurity because of ongoing transfer interest from the Red Devils.
In an extract from Spanish journalist Guillem Balague’s new book, “Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs,” published by the Daily Mail, the Spurs manager recalls Dier and Mourinho in deep conversation after Tottenham’s 1-0 loss to United at Old Trafford in December.
“I’ve told Eric he has what it takes to be the best English centre-back but he has to be convinced of that himself. We’ve put the conditions in place for him to improve. But he broke into the national team thanks to his displays in the [midfield] holding role and ended up scoring a couple of big goals,” Pochettino says in the book.
“After we signed [Victor] Wanyama, Eric, who now sees himself as a midfielder, felt that we had treated him badly because Wanyama’s arrival would halt his development. His performances have started to suffer this season. We’ve spoken a lot recently but I’ve felt he hasn’t been telling me everything. Later on, I once again tried to understand why he couldn’t shake off the shackles and I offered to help him with whatever it was. Nothing. Then I found out that United have made an approach and the player is being destabilised. His people have been putting pressure on him, although United are not promising anything,” he continued.
The Argentinian said that after he and Mourinho have finished their interviews at Old Trafford, when the players were doing their warm-down on the pitch Jose was done with the press, he stood by the entrance to the tunnel and regarded the returning players. According to Pochettino, the Portuguese manager greeted Moussa Sissoko and hugged Eric Dier.
“They passed by me en route to the dressing rooms, laughing, speaking in Portuguese. Maybe it is a common Mourinho tactic, but he put Eric in a compromising position. You cannot do that after a defeat,” says Pochettino in the book.
Spurs’ manager also added that he later confronted the 23-year-old Dier about his conversation with Mourinho, and is convinced that the issue is now behind Dier.
“Ever since that conversation, Eric admits that he could have waited for Mourinho to be out of sight before heading to the dressing room.”