Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho condemned Eric Dier following his altercation with a supporter in the stands after Spurs' FA Cup exit to Norwich - but says he understood why the England international did it.
Dier climbed over rows of seats to confront a fan, who had allegedly been involved in an altercation with the player's brother.
Footage has gone viral on social media and England international Dier is set to come under investigation from the Football Association.
The incident rounded off a terrible night for Tottenham, who saw another chance of silverware slip away 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw against the side bottom of the Premier League.
"I think Eric Dier did something that we professionals cannot do but in these circumstances every one of us would do," said Mourinho.
"Because when somebody insults you, and your family is there, and you get involved with the person that 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. I repeat, we professionals we cannot do, but I repeat I am with the player and I understand the player.
"This person insulted Eric, his family was there. The young brother was not happy with the situation and then Eric, I repeat (he) did what we professionals cannot do, but did something that probably we would do."
Dier scored his penalty in the shootout, 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 added: "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 spilt 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 extra-time, and neither could find a winner and Mourinho again blamed his stretched resources without the injured Harry Kane and Son Heung-min to injury for defeat.
The FA Cup was Tottenham's only real chance of silverware with their Premier League top-four hopes stuttering and their Champions League chances hanging in the balance.
"Some of my players were really in trouble and they made an incredible effort to try," said Mourinho.
"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."
It is another worry for Mourinho whose Tottenham side are unravelling after an initial revival when the Portuguese replaced Mauricio Pochettino.
Their run of defeats includes a 1-0 home loss to RB Leipzig in the Champions League, defeat away to Chelsea and a home loss to Wolves at the weekend that left Tottenham in seventh place in the Premier League.