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Monaco boss on Dier reunion and tonight's challenge

14 September 2016|Tottenham Hotspur

Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim admits he hasn't been surprised by Eric Dier's rise to prominence ahead of a reunion with his former player in the Champions League tonight (Wednesday, September 14).

Jardim was in charge of Sporting Lisbon in 2013-14 when Eric played for the Portuguese side.

The young defender-turned-midfielder subsequently made the move to White Hart Lane and has gone on to establish himself as an integral member of our team under Mauricio Pochettino.

As he prepares to field his Monaco side against us in our Champions League opener at Wembley Stadium tonight, Jardim says he always believed Eric would go on to become a top player.

"Eric Dier is one of the players who was here at the start of this Spurs project," he said. It’s true that I knew him at Sporting. He’s a tremendous athlete, a top class player and I always knew he was going to have a good career.

“At Sporting, he evolved and played the holding midfield role with me, so it’s no surprise to me he is showing he can play in either position (central midfield or in defence) and he can be good in either position.

"He is one of five Spurs players in the England squad which is a great thing to have."

Looking ahead to our meeting in Group E, Jardim says his charges are determined to avoid a repeat of the 4-1 defeat we inflicted on them in the Europa League last season.

“We can expect a different game this year, a close game," he said. "Maybe Tottenham are slight favourites. This project of theirs is into its third season. We are less fragile than we were in December. We have strengthened and Spurs have strengthened as well. We have our plans and that will hopefully help us. We are going out to try to win the game."