The Spurs legend believes that the midfielder reacted as any human being would to seeing abuse
Eric Dier is expected to be charged by the FA after jumping into the crowd after Tottenham’s midweek defeat to Norwich City in the FA Cup but Spurs legend David Ginola has leapt to the midfielder’s defence.
The 26-year-old was pictured being held back by stewards after confronting a fan who had insulted his brother after the penalty shootout defeat on Wednesday, and the FA and Tottenham are investigating the incident.
Ginola was often targeted for being French during his playing career in England, and he says he understands how a footballer might want to react when on the receiving end of abuse that goes too far.
“There are times when you think about it afterwards and you realise: ‘I shouldn’t do that,’” Ginola said at the London Football Awards. “You think about Eric Cantona. There is a bit of regret. When you are under pressure, it is difficult to contain your mental side.
“We are human beings. We are footballers. We have to behave. Try to do the best, say the best things, always be accurate when you do things. But we are humans. Sometimes you go beyond things you normally wouldn’t do.
“It is a duty as a footballer, a duty towards the kids, towards people in general. You have to think twice, think before acting. That is the hardest thing to do.”
The incident comes amid the latest setback in Tottenham’s season with Jose Mourinho’s side struggling to win matches without their two attacking stars – Harry Kane and Son Hueng-min – who are both injured.
Spurs have lost four in a row and are in danger of not qualifying for the Champions League after reaching the final last season.
Ginola thinks that the success of last season has adversely affected Mourinho’s side by over-inflating expectations that they haven’t been able to live up to.
“Yes, it is a difficult situation,” he added. “The worst-case scenario for Tottenham was to play the final of the Champions League last year. For me. Because it was great for the club, great for the fans, great for everyone.
“But it gives you a stage, puts you up there that you are not really there yet. We think about other clubs who have been there year-in, year-out. Tottenham just suddenly appeared to play in the final of the competition against Liverpool.
“You become a team that people have to watch and expect results, expect great things and don’t forget the last few years Tottenham have struggled to get trophies. That was the problem for Pochettino, who did a great job.
“But on the other hand, he wasn’t winning anything. People were complaining. You have play in the final of the Champions League and you become better, higher, so once you start losing games, people say: ‘What is going on?’ We played the final of the Champions League, this year we will struggle to finish in the top 10 teams.
“That is probably the main issue. They are too quick in the final of the Champions League. You have to win things in your home country first before going abroad and winning trophies.
“It’s all about expectation. When you have been playing good and last year in the few games in the Champions League, they had been very lucky – reaching this sort of dream – playing in the final of the Champions League for the fans, for the players, for the club.
“They started the season thinking we have to do better. Better is what? Winning at least one trophy? A domestic cup. Or the league. This is my philosophy. That is why it went wrong when you start the season, have one bad result, it comes to your mind.
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“People start to think: ‘What is going on?’ We are not playing the same way. Are the players concerned the same way as they were last year? This is football. It’s about managing teams, players. Spurs have everything.
“They have a fantastic stadium, a training facility which is amazing, some of the best fans in the country. But now they need to have a team consistent enough to be playing at the top level year-in, year-out.”