English Premiership

Dier demands Spurs title charge

2017-02-03 10:20
Eric Dier (tottenhamhotspur.com)

London - Eric Dier has demanded title-chasing Tottenham put pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea with victory over Middlesbrough on Saturday at White Hart Lane.

Mauricio Pochettino's second-placed side trail Chelsea by nine points after being held to a frustrating 0-0 by struggling Sunderland on Tuesday.

Chelsea drew at fourth-placed Liverpool and third-placed Arsenal unexpectedly lost at home to Watford, but Tottenham were unable to take advantage at the Stadium of Light.

Tottenham pushed Leicester almost all the way last season before having to settle for third behind Arsenal and England international Dier is adamant the players would not settle for a repeat scenario this time.

And with Chelsea facing Arsenal on Saturday, Tottenham could have an opportunity to make up ground on the leaders.

"With the mentality we have here, we would be upset to finish in the same position as last season," Dier, who has played in defence and midfield for Tottenham, said.

"We want to be better and we want to show it. Everyone wants to reach the very top.

"We have improved a lot and I don't think there is anything about us that is lacking, but until we win a trophy, that will always be the question.

"It is up to us to reach our full potential. We still have a lot of players who have not reached their prime.

"We are not chasing a trophy: our focus is to build a team capable of challenging on every front, and we are still in three big competitions."

Tottenham are still in both the FA Cup and the Europa League, but will have to do without left-back Danny Rose for a number of important fixtures.

A knee injury forced the England international off before half-time at Sunderland and he is likely to spend around a month on the sidelines, with Ben Davies ready to deputise.

Tottenham host a Middlesbrough side that is in grave danger of being dragged deep into the mire and are just two points above the relegation zone.

They have gone almost two months since their last league victory and their only away win this season came in August.

But Boro boss Aitor Karanka insisted: "We travel to Tottenham in a really positive frame of mind.

"It's another tough game against one of the best teams in the league who are genuine title contenders.

"We will relish the challenge because it's the kind of game we worked towards for three years when we were in the Championship."

Adlene Guedioura is in line to make his Middlesbrough debut following a deadline day move from Watford.

The 31-year-old Algeria midfielder recently returned from Africa Cup of Nations duty and Karanka said: "He can be involved at Tottenham because he's sharp having figured for his country.

"He brings good experience and good quality and he's a player who knows the Premier League so he can be an important addition to the squad."

Uruguay midfielder Gaston Ramirez is again ruled out by a knee problem while George Friend (calf) is also unavailable and Calum Chambers is a doubt for Middlesbrough, whose only wins this year have come against lower league opposition in the FA Cup.

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Saturday, 20 January 2018
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Stoke City v Huddersfield Town, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
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