Tottenham squad getting 'stronger and stronger' - Eric Dier
LONDON -- Eric Dier has described the Tottenham squad as the strongest he has known at the club after Toby Alderweireld was left behind for Tuesday's Champions League game against Juventus.
Alderweireld returned from a three-month hamstring injury in the FA Cup last week but he has not been included in the squad for the Champions League round-of-16 first leg in Italy. The centre-back was also left out of the 18-man squad for Saturday's north London derby win over Arsenal, along with Harry Winks and £15 million summer signing Fernando Llorente.
Spurs signed Lucas Moura from Paris Saint-Germain last month, while Alderweireld, Winks, Danny Rose and Victor Wanyama have all returned to fitness this year.
Asked if the squad was the strongest since he joined the club from Sporting Lisbon in August 2014, shortly after manager Mauricio Pochettino arrived, Dier said: "Yes, of course, because we've constantly added to it since I've arrived.
"It's getting stronger and stronger and that's what we need -- competition for places and people pushing each other. Everyone needs to be at their best. It's a competitive environment, and that's what you need to build if you want to be a top team.
"Look at all the top teams: they have big squads and it makes it difficult for the manager. That's what the players here have to do: make it difficult for the manager to choose an 11, or an 18, and make it difficult to choose who he leaves out as well."
Pochettino has said Spurs will not change their 4-2-3-1 formation or attacking approach at the Allianz Stadium after taking seven points from league games against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.
But Dier, whose versatility has been a key asset for the manager, said the squad are comfortable playing in a variety of different systems if necessary,
"When you are with the same manager for a long period of time -- this is the fourth year together and the core group of players is the same -- we've been working together on lots of different things and they've all come together," the England international said.
"It gives us opportunities to adapt to many different systems. Over those four years we've learned all of them."
Dier added that Pochettino is "on the path" to becoming a great manager like Sir Alex Ferguson, the Argentine's idol, and also claimed Spurs are now as strong at Wembley as they were at White Hart Lane, having initially struggled at their temporary home.
Pochettino's side have won nine of their last 10 matches at the national stadium, with an aggregate score of 28-4, and they have beaten Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Liverpool, United and Arsenal at home this season.
"It feels that we are as strong as at White Hart Lane," Dier said. "We took our time but we've really made it home, the fans have made it home and that's the feeling we have at the moment here. The supporters were fantastic against Arsenal again.
"The turning point was definitely those two Champions League games against Real and Dortmund. The atmosphere was fantastic. The fans and the players have to work with each other as we did in those games and from then forward we've been really strong.
"We learned a lot from the Champions League last year. We were very disappointed but that was our first experience of it. So it was difficult but I think we learned a lot about it. We proved that this season with the way we've played in the Champions League and hopefully we can continue that on Tuesday."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.