Eric Dier emerges from dark days to become Tottenham’s guiding light

The defender has flourished under Antonio Conte having been made a scapegoat for the club’s struggles by José Mourinho“It felt like the end of the world,” Eric Dier says, referring to a specific point of last season. The away games against Crystal Palace and Liverpool in mid-December. The first felt like a defeat; the second actually was. Tottenham were top of the Premier League at the time but they were rocked by Jeffrey Schlupp’s 81st-minute equaliser at Selhurst Park and Roberto Firmino’s 90th-minute winner at Anfield.With the benefit of hindsight, the results can be seen as the beginning of the implosion under José Mourinho – the team would win only seven more league matches before his sacking in mid-April. Dier’s form, meanwhile, came to mirror that of the collective, declining sharply, although it seemed as though it was placed under a harsher spotlight.