Frank Lampard has described Jose Mourinho’s criticism of Antonio Rudiger as “disappointing” and insisted the defender’s integrity should not be questioned.
Mourinho accused Rudiger of playacting to get Son Heung-min sent-off during Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Tottenham on Sunday, but Lampard felt the Spurs boss’s barbs were ill-timed.
Germany international Rudiger was the victim of racist abuse from home supporters at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with an investigation ongoing.
Lampard said: “With Toni, in this incident when he’s having to post after the game about something we know is a huge deal [racism], I think to question his integrity in that time is disappointing for sure.
“Pretty universally, certainly what I heard in the commentary and the post-match reflection was that the Son incident was a red card.
“It wasn’t brutal but it was instinctive and that warrants a red card in the modern day.
“It was pretty clear that was the case. I wouldn’t question Toni’s integrity on that.
“If it becomes a question of people standing up or falling down in the Premier League, I think there were a couple of incidents in the last 15 minutes of the game where Tottenham players were going over in the box attempting to win a penalty.
“So we can open up that debate, not just the red card but on mini incidents across many games. I do defend Toni firmly on it.”
It is really sad to see racism again at a football match, but I think it’s very important to talk about it in public. If not, it will be forgotten again in a couple of days (as always). (1/4)
— Antonio Rüdiger (@ToniRuediger) December 22, 2019
Lampard will speak to Rudiger on Tuesday to talk through the racist incident that has prompted the Professional Footballers’ Association to demand a government-led enquiry into an increase in racism in the sport.
He added: “I spoke to him briefly after the game, but I haven’t had a one-on-one to speak to him about the incident.
“I saw Toni’s social media post, I thought it was well put, from the heart and something that he feels very strongly about.
“I’ll speak to him today when I see him.
“I would like to think the players know I am with them on anything like this.
“I’ll have the same conversation with Toni that I had with Tammy [Abraham] after the incident earlier this year.
“And I will tell them and take the time to make sure he knows I support him, and that I support all my players in this situation.”
The incidents overshadowed what was an excellent performance from Lampard’s men at the weekend.
Asked if it was the best during his reign, he said: “I think it was. Going to Tottenham, in good form. The character, the fight and strength makes it the best performance.
“Hopefully within the group that gives us confidence.”
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