Frank Lampard has reacted to suggestions Toni Rudiger made too much of the contact from Son Hueng-min’s boot in the incident that resulted in a red card for the Tottenham player on Sunday, by backing the Chelsea defender.
The boss was asked for his thoughts on the matter at his media conference on Christmas Eve morning, following Spurs manager Jose Mourinho saying the focus should be on Rudiger regarding the incident.‘With Toni in this incident, when he is having to post [on social media] after the game about something [alleged racist abuse] we know is a huge deal, to question his integrity in that time is disappointing for sure, because I think pretty universally, certainly from what I heard in the commentary and all the post-match reflection, was that the Son incident was a red card.‘I said it after the game that it wasn’t a brutal red card but it was an instinctive one that warrants a red card in the modern day. VAR took a couple of minutes so there is no excuse that the referee did not see it for real. So I think it was pretty clear that was the case and I would not question Toni’s integrity on that.‘If it becomes a question about people standing up or falling down in the Premier League, there were a couple of incidents in the last 15 minutes of the game when Tottenham players were going over in the box attempting to win a penalty so we can open up that debate, not just to the red card but to many incidents across many games. So I do defend Toni firmly on it.’With the players having a day off yesterday, today is the first chance for Lampard to speak one-to-one with Rudiger about the alleged racism towards him during Sunday’s game, after which the manager and player discussed it briefly.‘I saw Toni’s social media post and I thought it was well-put,’ said Lampard today.
‘It was from the heart, and it is obviously something he feels very strongly about. I would like to think the players know that I am with them on anything like this. We had a similar situation with Tammy. I was pretty firm about that, and behind the scenes supported Tammy. And I will have a similar conversation with Toni so he knows that I support him, and all of the players in any of these situations.’Lampard was asked about racism in society in general as well as football, and whether vitriol overall aimed at players is worse now than in his day.On racism he said:‘It is a problem in society and football itself has a responsibility to deal with it as diligently and firmly as it possibly can. We at Chelsea feel that and we will deal with and have dealt with it firmly every opportunity we get.’On abuse aimed at players, he answered:‘I thought it was pretty harsh when I played. I went to White Hart Lane and it was harsh back in the day, for many reasons, and not just at White Hart Lane, other London derbies too. Teams that came to Stamford Bridge would probably have felt that.
‘I am not sure it is much harsher now. Maybe our eyes are a bit more on the abuse that players are taking, and I am not just talking about the Toni Rudiger situation or the alleged incident, I am talking generally. When we start to isolate certain incidents we come away from the fact that we do have this problem that people are very negative and very aggressive, on social media and in stadiums, and it is something we all need to look at.
‘I have had lots of conversations about social media and we know it has become a bit of a gateway for people to vent their frustrations or throw abuse at people. Not just footballers, across the board. That is why I am not so mad on parts of it.’