It has been a season of frustration for the England midfielder, who fell out of favour under Jose Mourinho – making just one Premier League start so far in 2020/21 – and was denied a reunion with former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain in January.
However, Dele looked back to his old self in the Europa League on Wednesday night, scoring with a brilliant bicycle kick before laying on goals for Gareth Bale and Carlos Vinicius in Tottenham’s 4-0 last-32 second-leg victory over their Austrian opponents in north London.
And Dier – who also started on Wednesday as Mourinho’s side provided a welcome distraction from their miserable Premier League form by sealing an emphatic 8-1 aggregate win over Wolfsberger – thinks such a dazzling display served as proof that the 24-year-old is beginning to rediscover his best form.
“We started very well, after that we let them get back into the game too much,” Dier told BT Sport of the performance. “Second half we had complete control.
“I’m delighted for Dele, a fantastic goal. Step by step he is getting back to his best. In football everyone has a short memory, maybe they have forgotten his quality. Maybe tonight has reminded people of that.”
Tottenham’s second win over Wolfsberger came 13 years to the day since their last major trophy success – the 2008 League Cup final triumph against Chelsea at Wembley.
And Dier insists the desire to end that drought remains a huge source of motivation for Spurs, who will likely need to win the Europa League in order to return to the Champions League next season, with a run of five defeats from their last six games leaving them ninth in the Premier League and nine points adrift of the top four.
“We have big ambitions and that stays the same for the Europa League,” Dier added. “The desperation for a trophy has been there for a long time. It has been very frustrating not to get one and we will be doing everything we can to do that.”