Eric Dier reckons Antonio Conte’s gruelling training sessions are taking Tottenham stars back to the future.
Former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had a reputation for putting his players through the mill during his time at the club.
And Dier is convinced that after enduring a similarly punishing schedule under the Italian this past fortnight that he and his pals are ready to start making strides forward, starting against Leeds today.
He said: “We’ve just come away from an international break when quite a few of us were here.
“We’ve used that time to try to improve ourselves physically and get a much better idea of how the manager wants to play and his ideas.
“This two-week period has been very beneficial to be able to really work.
“During the season, when it’s game after game, it’s quite difficult to make significant strides, especially from a physical point of view.
“But these two weeks have been really good for that.
“It’s not the first time that myself or anyone else has trained in this way.
“Anyone who was here during the Pochettino days knows what a tough session feels like and there have certainly been some over the last few weeks.
“Some really tough sessions, running sessions, and working without the ball.
“But, at the end of the day, anything that can help us improve and do better is great to be doing and, at the same time as being tough, it has been enjoyable to get through them.
“It creates a stronger bond between the players as well, to get through those tough sessions together.”
Conte, who loves to play with wing-backs, has also drilled his players hard on formation.
Dier added: “It has been really interesting to see first hand the way he wants his system to be played.
“There are many ways of playing every system — five at the back, four at the back — there are many ways of playing each one tactically and how to set up.
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“It has been interesting to see how he implements the way he wants to work, how he wants it to be played.
“Obviously, I’ve played against it in the past when he was at Chelsea and remember those games very well and trying to contain his system.
“Now being the protagonists of it is really interesting and he is playing it in a way I’ve never played it before.
“It’s been really enjoyable to learn it and obviously still a long, long way to go and improve the way in which the manager sees that system and plays it.
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“He’s had incredible success with this system wherever he has been and so far us it is great to be able to play it and learn it.”
Conte, who replaced Nuno Espirito Santo earlier this month, is looking for his first Premier League win in the game against Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds after drawing against Everton before the international break.
Dier said: “Leeds are interesting — it’s controlled chaos from them.
“They know what they are doing but they try to cause the other team to feel that it is completely chaotic.
“But they are very well organised and drilled, physically they are extremely impressive as well.
“It’s going to be an extremely difficult game and a test for us.”