Frank Lampard believes top footballers deserve “a lot of credit” for ignoring fan abuse.
Chelsea boss Lampard says he can understand why Eric Dier climbed into the stands after Tottenham’s FA Cup loss to Norwich and confronted a supporter who is alleged to have been arguing with his brother.
Manchester United and police are investigating abuse aimed at Jesse Lingard following their fifth-round victory at Derby on Thursday, and Lampard is sympathetic to the situations of players who face personal attacks or whose families are affected.
“I didn’t see Lingard, but I thought it was a pretty natural reaction from Eric Dier,” said Lampard.
“I think if you asked the man or woman in the street, if one of your family members needed protection, your natural reaction would be to go there.
“Because we are in the sport that we are in, I thought Jose Mourinho said it pretty well afterwards, you are not supposed to, not allowed to as such. But when you talk about natural reactions, I understand it, particularly with a family member.
“I didn’t see anything go beyond slightly heated, which is a good thing, so we will see how it is dealt with, but I think it should be understood that if Eric Dier saw his brother in a situation, then I understand his thought process.”
Asked if abuse towards players in football is increasing, Lampard continued: “In the stadiums? No. I think it’s what it was. I took some abuse over the years, I have seen team-mates take abuse. I know some of my family members and friends that have been in earshot of abuse, so I don’t think it has changed.
“I think players should be given a lot of credit sometimes that they hold themselves in certain moments.
“We talk about certain types of hate in the game and we analyse them, and then other types of hate seemingly are OK to say something to you or about your family.
“I have heard all of that and sometimes you don’t pick up on it and it’s all OK because of the pantomime nature of football.
“You walk into the stadium and you don’t live by the same rules you would live by in the street. I think that has not changed. Maybe social media has made it worse around, day to day, minute to minute, off the pitch; some people sit and watch a game at home and spend 89 minutes of the 90 tweeting, or posting their thoughts on the game rather than watching it. It is unfortunate.”