Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho on Wednesday defended Eric Dier after the England international stormed into the stands following his side’s FA Cup exit to Norwich City.
Dier climbed over rows of seats to confront a fan who had allegedly been involved in an altercation with the player’s brother.
The incident rounded off a terrible night for Tottenham, who saw another chance at silverware slip away 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw against the side sitting at the bottom of the Premier League.
“When someone insults you, and your family is there and your family gets involved with somebody who is insulting you, in this case a younger brother, I think Eric did what we professionals cannot do, but, I repeat, probably everyone of us would do,” Mourinho said. “I am with the player and I understand the player.”
Dier scored his penalty in the shoot-out, but Erik Lamela, Troy Parrott and Gedson Fernandes missed from the spot to condemn Spurs to a fourth straight defeat in all competitions.
On the prospect of the club taking disciplinary action against Dier, Mourinho said: “If the club does that I will not agree, but he did wrong.”
Jan Vertonghen headed Tottenham into an early lead, but Mourinho’s decision to hand 36-year-old goalkeeper Michel Vorm his first appearance of the season backfired.
The Dutchman spilled a long-range effort from Kenny McLean and Josip Drmic bundled home the rebound to level 12 minutes from time.
Both sides then tired badly in injury-time, but neither could find a winner and Mourinho again blamed his stretched resources without injured Harry Kane and Son Heung-min for the defeat.
“Some of my players were really in trouble and they made an incredible effort to try,” Mourinho said. “I don’t have one single negative feeling towards my players. I can cope with negative moments in football, but I feel really sorry for my players.”
Norwich are to host Derby County or Manchester United in their first FA Cup quarter-final since 1992.
Manchester City are to travel to Newcastle United in the last eight after winning a 20th consecutive domestic cup tie 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday thanks to Sergio Aguero’s winner.
Wednesday goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith failed to get a strong enough hand to the Argentine’s low strike eight minutes into the second half.
A solitary goal was scant reward for the dominance of Pep Guardiola’s men, but they maintained hopes of a cup treble after lifting a third consecutive EFL Cup on Sunday and beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.
“He is a good manager and crazy,” Aguero said of Guardiola’s relentless demand to keep winning.
Leicester City also booked their place in the last eight with a much-needed 1-0 win over Birmingham City thanks to Ricardo Pereira’s late header.
The Foxes have won just one of their past seven Premier League games to stall their charge toward the Champions League next season.
Brendan Rodgers’ men were again without Jamie Vardy through injury and needed rightback Ricardo to get the only goal when he headed home Marc Albrighton’s cross eight minutes from time.
“I thought it was just a matter of time,” said Rodgers, whose side are to host Chelsea in the quarter-finals. “In the second half we dominated — lots of quick combos and the goal was coming. It was an excellent display.”
Sheffield United are to host Arsenal in the other quarter-final tie.
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