Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has defended Antonio Rudiger after he was criticised for his part in Tottenham forward Son Heung-min’s red card on Sunday.
Spurs manager Jose Mourinho was unhappy with the Blues defender’s reaction to Son’s challenge in Chelsea’s 2-0 win.
Lampard said it was “disappointing” to question Rudiger’s integrity while an investigation into alleged racial abuse directed at the German is ongoing.
“I do defend Toni firmly on it,” said Lampard.
Tottenham have appealed against the red card shown to Son in the second half after VAR ruled he had kicked out at Rudiger.
However, Mourinho thinks it should be Rudiger’s reaction to Son’s challenge that is coming under scrutiny, and not Son’s action.
“I’m not speaking about the racism incident, this is another thing. I am speaking about that incident, the red card,” he said on Monday.
“In the Premier League I love there is no space also for what Rudiger did. Stand up and play man. This is the Premier League.”
Lampard responded: “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 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.”
On Tuesday, Tottenham said they had banned a supporter for throwing a cup at Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, but their investigation into the alleged racist abuse of Rudiger “remains ongoing”.
‘I support all my players in this situation’
Both players were subject to alleged racist abuse during the fixture.
Rudiger said he heard monkey noises from the crowd, while police arrested a Chelsea fan for a racially aggravated public order offence against Spurs’ Son.
Lampard says he has only spoken briefly to Rudiger, who informed Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta of what he had heard and he told referee Anthony Taylor.
However, Tottenham say their initial findings after the alleged racist abuse of Rudiger are “inconclusive”.
“I saw Toni’s social media post, I thought it was well put, from the heart and something that he feels very strongly about,” said Lampard.
“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 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.”
Former Cardiff City captain Graham Kavanagh says Neil Harris could be worth a “gamble” to replace Neil Warnock as manager.
Warnock, 70, parted company with the Championship side on Monday and ex-Millwall boss Harris, 42, is an early favourite to take over.
Although he has only managed the Lions, ex-Republic of Ireland midfielder Kavanagh says Harris could do the job.
“If Neil Harris comes in I think it is a slight gamble,” said Kavanagh.
“He’s been in the Millwall job four years and hasn’t managed anywhere else, but he’s done a magnificent job.”
Harris, who scored 138 goals over two separate spells with Millwall as a player, took over as caretaker manager in March 2015 following their relegation to League One.
The former striker guided the Lions to promotion back to the second tier in 2017, after reaching the League One play-off final for a second consecutive season, while the London club reached the FA Cup quarter-finals twice, in 2017 and 2019.
He stepped down as boss at the Den in October 2019 after a seven-match winless streak left Millwall five points above the relegation zone.
Harris – who briefly played alongside Kavanagh on loan at Cardiff in December 2004 – remains Millwall’s record goalscorer, despite being diagnosed with cancer when he was just 23.
“I know Neil from my time at Cardiff. He’s a great lad, he works very, very hard, he’s very diligent and honest in his work and he does like to play,” Kavanagh, 45, said.
“He’s never had too much money to spend, but what he has spent at Millwall he’s done a remarkable job.”
Whoever does take over the reins at the Cardiff City Stadium, Kavanagh says that Warnock will be a hard act to follow.
“He’s [Warnock] done a phenomenal job at the club, getting it promoted. I know obviously he then got relegated but it’s very, very tough to stay in the Premier League once you’ve been promoted,” Kavanagh said.
“He spent quite a bit of money but it looked like he was buying Championship players with the thought that if they went back down, then they’d be able to jump back up.
“Obviously that hasn’t been how they’ve started the season, so he’s paid the price of that.
“The connection he’s had with the club since moving there, the connection he’s had with the fans, there’s no way he would have wanted to disrupt that.
“If it’s a joint decision I’m not really sure, but if he’s made the decision because he’s felt it’s for the benefit of the club you have to say fair enough.
“A man of his experience and his wealth of knowledge… he’s going to be a massive loss to the club.”