David Moyes defends Eric Dier’s actions in confronting fan after Norwich game

West Ham boss David Moyes has defended Eric Dier following his altercation with a supporter in the stands after Tottenham’s FA Cup exit to Norwich.

In the aftermath of the penalty shootout defeat to the Canaries, Dier climbed into the lower tier of the West Stand and confronted a fan, who is alleged to have been arguing with his brother.

The incident has split opinion with some backing Dier’s decision and others claiming he was in the wrong to climb over rows of seats for a showdown.

Moyes, who knows Dier after the England international spent time on loan in the Everton youth ranks when he was manager at Goodison Park, said the 26-year-old must have had a good reason to feel the need to react so strongly.

“For Eric to do what he has done, he must have been required and needed,” said Moyes.

“In many ways I admire him and like it, I like how he stands up for his family, for himself, and you know we all get criticism and we have to take it in different ways.

West Ham boss David Moyes knows Dier from their brief time together at Everton.
West Ham boss David Moyes knows Dier from their brief time together at Everton. (Victoria Jones/PA)

“There have been many events recently where they haven’t taken it well but footballers and football managers have to get it regularly.

“I know Eric well as he was with me at Everton, he is a great boy. Really good professional from a really good sporting family and background who understands all the issues in sport.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce feels Dier will wish he had not acted in the manner he did.

Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City – FA Cup – Fifth Round – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dier played the whole 120 minutes against Norwich before scoring his penalty in the shootout (John Walton/PA)

Bruce, who has at Manchester United when Eric Cantona infamously kung-fu kicked a Wimbledon supporter and was banned for nine months, said players and managers have to keep a lid on their emotions if they are targeted.

“I’ve had cabbages thrown at me, I’ve been abused by Newcastle fans when I was manager of Sunderland. I’ve been abused all my life,” he said.

“(I’ve been called) ‘Fathead’, ‘Potato head’ – you just have to accept it but sometimes you go over the edge.

“It’s quite unique. How did he know his brother was getting abused? It wasn’t exactly a Cantona thing was it?”

“But I’m sure in the cold light of day, he’ll look back on it and think, ‘I can’t be doing that’. But these things happen.”

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers also spoke about Dier's actions.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers also spoke about Dier’s actions. (Nick Potts/PA)

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers suggested Dier will receive a lot of empathy from those who have seen the video of him marching through the crowd.

“I think everyone realises it’s not something ideal, but there is an instinct there to protect his brother and everyone will understand that,” he said.

“In the main, I think players and managers are exemplary in their behaviour in terms of what (the abuse) they receive.

“You understand frustration in supporters, but none of us want to see it overstep the mark. There’s a lot of it in the game, but it’s a reflection of society as well.”

Eddie Howe echoed the sentiments of Rodgers when it comes to the incident being indicative of current societal issues.

Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City – FA Cup – Fifth Round – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
A screen-grab taken from video provided by Alex Kyriacou of Twitter handle @SBergwijn_. Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier confronting a supporter in the stands following the FA Cup fifth round match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London.

“It is very easy to focus on the reaction of the player, and I don’t think anybody wants to see players, coaches or anybody confronting supporters in that way,” the Bournemouth boss said.

“But the world of football needs to look at what is said and what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.

“It is almost anything that is said from the terraces: ‘Oh, that is just football banter, that is the world of football’, but I don’t think it should be like that.

“I think it is an opportunity to look at this and maybe review what is acceptable and what is not,  highlighting it for everybody who goes to games.”

Tottenham’s investigation of the incident is on hold until Metropolitan Police finish their own enquiries, while the Football Association will also wait to see the outcome before acting.

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