Eric Dier insists he is not struggling with confidence issues amid Tottenham’s poor run of form.
Dier has been at fault for several goals conceded during an alarming set of Premier League results that has seen Spurs fall out of top-four contention and leave boss Jose Mourinho under pressure.
Mourinho hinted Dier, who he regards as a key player at the club, had seen his confidence knocked, but the England defender disputed that idea.
“Confidence-wise I don’t feel I have been in a bad place all season,” he said. “I have gone through periods where I have had low confidence in the past so I know what it feels like.
“I haven’t felt that this season. The most important thing is the reality and people’s perception versus reality can be different sometimes.
“I am talking about football in general. We have gone through a difficult moment but it is important to keep things in context.
“I have been happy with my level for the majority of the season. There has been a dip in it which correlates with the team in general and the performances in general.
“I don’t think my confidence has been in a negative place where it has been in previous times.”
Mourinho and Dier have a clear bond, helped by the pair’s ability to communicate in Portuguese and Mourinho’s pursuit of the player when he was Manchester United manager.
That has meant Mourinho may have taken a harder stance with him, but Dier says he is big enough to take it.
He added: “I always say I am a big boy. This is a ruthless profession. I focus on doing the best I can, every time I get an opportunity, I always try to be the best version of myself in training, try to improve constantly and then in games.
“I know I can have good games and bad games but I am always relaxed because I always give everything I have.
“Everything in the outside does not affect me because I am confident in myself and confident that I always try to give the best of myself. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it goes bad but my effort never changes.”
Five defeats from six Premier League games has seen Spurs fall out of Champions League contention and only a quick recovery can get them back in the battle.
Dier has called for unity in the squad to help them build on a 4-0 Europa League win over Wolfsberger and come out the other side.
“It is no secret we are going through a difficult time,” he said.
“Now is the time as a group we have got to all step up and work together to push through this moment, starting with this result and taking it into the weekend.
“We know the result is nice, but it is just a small step. We need to find our consistency and level again and everyone is pushing in the same direction to achieve that.”