Champions League wins against Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid are behind Tottenham Hotspur’s fine Wembley form, says Eric Dier, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side gear up for a visit to the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday night.
Spurs have fallen to only one defeat in their temporary home – against West Ham in the Carabao Cup – after the matches against Dortmund and the reigning European champions proved they could hang with the best sides Europe has to offer.
Wins against Manchester United and Arsenal in the north London derby have followed recently in Premier League games at Wembley as Spurs gear up for an assault on the top four in the last quarter of the season.
“We took our time but I think we’ve really made it our home,” the England midfielder said. “The fans have made it their home and that’s the feeling we have at the moment here and the support is fantastic.
“Madrid at home and Dortmund, in those two Champions League games the atmosphere was fantastic. The fans and the players have to work off each other and that’s what we did in those two games and from then forward we’ve been really strong.”
Spurs made it through to the last 16 having topped a group including Real and Dortmund which is a major improvement on last year’s European form which saw them eliminated at the Champions League group stage.
“We learned a lot from last year in the Champions League,” said Dier. “We were very disappointed but that was our first experience. It was difficult last season but we learned a lot about it.
“We proved that this season with the way we’ve played in the Champions League and hopefully we can continue that on Tuesday.”
Competition for places is rife around Tottenham as the season reaches boiling point both domestically and in Europe.
Internationals Toby Alderweireld, Fernando Llorente and Harry Winks were not even on the bench on Saturday as Spurs completed a sequence of matches against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in the league having taken seven points from nine.
“You need a competitive environment like that,” said Dier. “I think that’s what we’re trying to build. You look at all the top teams, they all have big squads.
“It makes it difficult for the manager and that’s what the players have got to do. They have got to make it difficult for the manger to choose an 11, an 18, and who’s left out.”
Spurs recruited Brazilian winger Lucas Moura in the January transfer window from Paris Saint-Germain and Dier believes the squad right now is as strong as he’s seen it since arriving from Sporting CP in 2014.
“We’ve just constantly added to the squad since I’ve arrived,” he said. “It’s getting stronger and stronger and that’s what we need. We need competition for places, we need players pushing each other and everyone needs to be at their best.”
Dier also believes that the settled core which Pochettino has relied upon since being installed as manger has meant Spurs are well advanced when it comes to devising tailored game plans depending on the opposition.
“That’s what you need,” he said. “When you’re with the same manager for a long period of time - this is our fourth year together and the core group of players is the same - we’ve been working for four years on lots of different things.
“They’ve all come together and that gives us opportunities to adapt to many different systems. Over those four years we’ve learned all of them.”
And going into the Juventus game, against arguably Europe’s most in-form team, Spurs will take confidence not only from their recent Premier League results but also the nature of those performances.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “We’re really happy. Obviously the results have been really good, we’ve got seven points, but not just that. I think the performances have been really good in every single game.
“The beginning of the Liverpool game was a bit frustrating but from then on to play the way we did, to control the game at Anfield, was really positive. And to win again here was massive.
“We’ve got another big game on Tuesday and we need to get ready for that.”