Eric Dier let Jose Mourinho down as Tottenham Hotspur lost 2-1 to West Ham United on Sunday, with a performance worse than Davinson Sanchez’s during the London derby.
Spurs are now winless in five of their last six Premier League games and trail the fourth-placed Hammers by nine points in the race for Champions League football, albeit with a game in hand.
Criticism can fall at both Dier and Sanchez’s feet for the goals scored by David Moyes’ side, with Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard able to fire past Hugo Lloris after errors from the England and Colombia internationals.
Dier simply watched the ball sail over his head inside the opening stages, hoping that Lloris would come and collect Jarrod Bowen’s teasing cross, only to be left yelling at Japhet Tanganga for not staying with Antonio’s run after he smashed home at the second time of asking.
The goal gave the hosts the momentum to go on the attack, but the Irons failed to double their advantage until two minutes into the second half when Sanchez produced a feeble attempt to stop Lingard running through for his third goal since joining West Ham on loan.
Dier was also far too slow to turn with the danger as the Manchester United-owned midfielder broke into Lloris’ box, leaving Lingard unchallenged to drill his left-footed effort into the far corner of the net.
Question marks could be raised over Lloris’ decision not to collect Bowen’s cross that led to Antonio’s goal. However, the bigger error was committed by Dier in allowing the ball to float into the six-yard box unchallenged, knowing that the striker was immediately behind.
An all too frequent occurrence for a player that had traditionally been a midfielder throughout his Spurs career – this trend only shows his several lack of positional awareness to be a central defender for the future.
Sanchez’s error in the lead-up to Lingard’s goal also overshadowed a performance that otherwise featured multiple moments of merit for the defender that Dier’s display did not.
While Sanchez registered a game-high five successful tackles, Dier took possession with just two of his four attempts. The £72k-per-week England international also offered fewer clearances (2) than his Colombian teammate, who provided a team-high five, via SofaScore.
Only Aaron Cresswell (6) recorded more clearances than Sanchez for West Ham, while Craig Dawson, Declan Rice and the £36m-rated Tottenham colossus also offered a joint game-high three interceptions. Dier made zero interceptions and fewer clearances than half-time substitute Matt Doherty (3).
Dier, who saw the ball for the second-most touches (92) among both sides – marginally more than third-ranked Sanchez (89) – completed just 83% of his passes, the same as his defensive partner and just two per cent superior than goalkeeper Lloris (81%).
The former Sporting CP centre-half’s efforts also trailed his seasonal averages for clearances (4.8) and interceptions (0.9) made in the Premier League this term, though Dier eclipsed his usual standards for pass success (82%) and touches taken (72.9).
But given how influential his role was in Tottenham’s plans to beat West Ham, Mourinho will have surely felt let down by seeing Dier pass the blame onto Tanganga for Antonio’s goal and fail to atone for his error like Sanchez.