Tottenham star Eric Dier has dismissed talk regarding his potential transfer to Manchester United last summer, claiming his relationship with Mauricio Pochettino is stronger than ever.
The England international was linked with a move to Old Trafford throughout the summer, until the Red Devils' surprise acquisition of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea. Tottenham boss Pochettino has since revealed in an autobiography, that his midfield enforcer became unsettled as a result of talks with the United coach.
Dier was quick to set the record straight over any doubts regarding his commitment to the North London side though, while speaking to The Times, stating: "What needs to be clarified, is that this is something that happened last Christmas."
"The manager’s [Pochettino's] point of view was [the general friendliness with Mourinho] was disrespectful to him. [The dialogue] was more him getting that message across than me getting my message across."
"I grew up in Portugal. Portuguese people are very proud and it’s a small country. It doesn’t have the economic power of a country such as England, so people like Mourinho, Ronaldo, they’re extremely proud of it. Growing up there I was within all that, you know? I didn’t want to be disrespectful to anyone. I completely understand where the manager was coming from but I believe I was stuck in the middle of something I couldn’t really affect."
Pochettino felt that the conversation between the two derailed Dier's focus and resulted in a series of lack-lustre performances - the Englishman instead attributing the showings to fatigue:
"A crazy amount of games," he said. "I’d never played anywhere near that amount and the Euros, though ending badly, was an incredible experience. After that you have a very limited holiday and when I returned for pre-season my mindset wasn’t right. I was mentally tired. I wasn’t ready to put my whole body into it again."
"It probably took six months - January, February - for my football to get better and a lot was my fault, my attitude and that didn’t have anything to do with Man United."