Premier League defenders ‘terrified’ of new handball rule, says Tottenham’s Dier



The 26-year-old was a victim of new regulations as he conceded a stoppage-time penalty in a recent match against Newcastle

Eric Dier says defenders are “terrified” in their own penalty areas after the recent controversy surrounding handballs in the Premier League.

The Tottenham defender was a high-profile victim of new regulations when he conceded a stoppage-time penalty against Newcastle, with the ball striking the back of his hand as he jumped for a header with Andy Carroll. Callum Wilson scored the 97th-minute spot kick to earn a 1-1 draw.

Spurs were on the receiving end of another controversial decision in the Europa League in midweek, though the handball call against Matt Doherty did not put a dampener on their 7-2 win over Maccabi Haifa.

“You’re terrified in and around the box with the new rule,” Dier said. “You don’t feel free to act, to try to play in a normal way. Sometimes it’s difficult because it’s something that can come back to bite you and is still an opinion.

“The fact that everyone seems to be of the same opinion, which is a rarity in football, makes it clear that things aren’t right. If the opposition manager is saying … that he doesn’t think it’s a penalty, which is also a rarity, it’s very clear.”

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce described the new rules as “nonsense” despite his side profiting from them in north London, saying football has “lost the plot.”

Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have all given their view in recent days with the topic dominating discussion around the top flight.

“I don’t like subjectivity in football because subjectivity normally goes to a certain side,” Mourinho commented.

Dier further explained his exasperation with the situation: “If you’re too close, if you’re in close proximity and the ball hits your arm, it’s not a handball. If it hits a certain part of your arm, it’s not a handball. And if your arm is in a certain position, it is a handball.

“For me, it’s very clear. Is it intentional? Is an arm in a position it shouldn’t be? Those are the two questions you need to ask.”

Tottenham will hope to avoid falling foul of the regulations again on Sunday when they travel to face Mourinho’s former side, Manchester United.

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