Eric Dier stands up for Dele Alli after red card

27 February 2017 12:23

Eric Dier says Dele Alli's mistake against Gent will not be his last but believes the Tottenham midfielder proved his mettle by bouncing back against Stoke.

Alli came under fire after being sent off for a rash tackle versus Gent last week as 10-man Spurs drew 2-2 and crashed out of the Europa League.

The 20-year-old, however, was thrown back into the limelight against Stoke on Sunday and justified his manager's faith by scoring a goal in an emphatic 4-0 victory.

Mauricio Pochettino said after the win he had given Alli "more love than normal" following his red card at Wembley, despite the England man again revealing a tendency to lose his temper.

Alli showed more restraint at White Hart Lane, however, despite coming under pressure, and Dier, a close friend of Alli's, believes his team-mate showed his strength of character.

"He has to expect that from players like Stoke have, experienced players who have been around the block, he needs to expect players will irritate him, try to get in his head," Dier said.

"But he knows that and he handles it very well. It's only normal he will get better at it over time.

"He is very young and that (tackle against Gent) won't be the last mistake he makes. He will make more mistakes and the most important thing is he learns from them and reacts in the right way, and he does."

Dier added: "He was very disappointed after what happened on Thursday and there has been a lot of attention on him.

"But he is very young and of course he is going to make a mistake. I don't think it fazes him, he played his game and scored a goal, and everyone will forget about what happened on Thursday."

Tottenham's win means they climb up to second in the Premier League, jumping above Manchester City and reducing the gap behind Chelsea back to 10 points.

It was the first of four games in a row at White Hart Lane for Pochettino's men, who host Everton on Sunday, Millwall in the FA Cup and then Southampton later this month.

"We have to worry about ourselves. We have a lot of home games in a row now so try to pick up as many points as possible and get some momentum back," Dier said.

"The way the league is and how tight it is at the top, goal difference could be huge, so we know that and it's on our mind.

"We wanted to score as many as possible against Stoke. We were a bit disappointed we didn't win the second half and score as many as possible."

Stoke, who stay 10th, were also arbiters of their own downfall with some dismal defending and the defeat continues their miserable record against the elite clubs.

They have taken just two points from eight fixtures against the top six this season.

"If you play like this in the Premier League then you may as well stay at home," Stoke defender Erik Pieters told the official club website.

"The game was beyond us at half-time, which allowed them to go easier in the second half. We can try and take a positive from that, but it's only because Spurs took their foot of the gas."

Source: PA