Dier’s sombre post-match reaction speaks volumes about Spurs’ trophy heartache
Another final, another disappointing near miss for Tottenham – and the wait for silverware goes on.
Few expected them to come out of Sunday's Carabao Cup final with much to show for their efforts, but that didn't stop the belief among the players in the Tottenham squad and in the fans in the stands at Wembley from hoping that this could finally be their day.
It's been 13 years since the club last tasted what it feels like to lift a trophy, and the wait is now getting heavier with each passing year.
This one felt all the more demoralising, as Jose Mourinho – brought in as manager due to his knack of winning trophies – was sacked on Monday, leaving 29-year-old fan favourite Ryan Mason in charge for only his second match in the dugout.
And despite the narrow scoreline, Spurs barely laid a glove on their superior opponents, as Manchester City dominated the match in a competition which may as well carry their name.
Four times in a row they've now won it, and it was almost a formality from the first whistle here.
That it took till the 82nd minute for them to find a breakthrough said more about City's finishing than it did about Tottenham's resolve.
Spurs were all at sea in the opening period and could well have found themselves behind, though did look threatening on the break.
Had match-winner Aymeric Laporte been booked for his first foul on Lucas Moura things could have perhaps been different.
The Frenchman was given the benefit of the doubt by referee Craig Pawson before committing an almost identical foul moments later, this time getting his name in the book.
On both occasions Moura was away, and it was no doubt a let off for the defender and City.
The fact he probably wouldn't have made the second foul were he already on a booking mattered little in the eyes of Spurs' fans as he rose high above Moussa Sissoko to head home Kevin De Bruyne's free-kick and set City on course for victory, leaving Tottenham in despair.
Son Heung-min was in tears at the final whistle, Harry Kane – who had recovered from injury to start the game – looked understandably glum at the prospect that this may have been his last attempt at winning something with the club.
Eric Dier's reaction meanwhile spoke volumes about the club's failed attempts to land anything tangible to show for their efforts.
The defender emerged from the dressing room after the game had finished to undertake several media interviews, before he then stood motionless staring at the end of the field Tottenham had conceded the winning goal, in almost disbelief and frustration in equal measure.
Many of this Spurs squad were present for Tottenham's disappointment in the Champions League two years ago, when this set of players were at their peak under Mauricio Pochettino.
Since then they have gone backwards under Mourinho and now appear in need of some fresh impetus and direction from whoever the next man is in the hot seat.
Tottenham have been mocked for their involvement in the breakaway Super League proposals, given they have not won anything since 2008 and are struggling to qualify for the Champions League again.
Surely their failure to do so will see Kane look to go elsewhere this summer, while the jury is out over a number of other stars, including Dele Alli and Gareth Bale, who were reduced to just cameo roles from the bench.
Even Dier's own position is uncertain, which was perhaps indicative of his long soul-searching look into the distance at Wembley, fully aware that this was another missed opportunity for Tottenham, and in the knowledge that this set of players may not get another chance together.
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