Manchester United, Fulham, and the Adnan Januzaj incident 0

Ben Weeks responds to David Moyes’ belief that Adnan Januzaj requires additional protection from referees:

“He does need a little bit of protection. Somewhere along the line if he is going to continue playing in the fashion and style we want he’ll need to get protection. It’s up to referees to do what they think is right.”

That’s David Moyes referring to Adnan Januzaj, after Saturday’s game at Craven Cottage.

Obviously Moyes isn’t the first manager to call for one of his players to be ‘protected’ by referees, nor will he be the last, but a) he’s the most recent and b) it’s as a result of an incident involving the club I support, so I’m particularly aware of it.

To be clear, I don’t in any way condone Sascha Riether’s really quite nasty actions against Adnan Januzaj on Saturday. Out of character it may have been, but the player deserves punishment. What I do object to, is the Manchester United manager urging referees to treat one of his players in a manner which is different to others in the league. That’s clearly fundamentally wrong and, at the cost of sounding whiney, “unfair”. No player, be it Adnan Januzaj or Robert Huth ought to receive special treatment or “protection” - indeed, the implication that referees should, by doing “what they think is right” deliver this, is walking dangerously close to the line between looking out for your player and attempting to gain an unfair advantage.

There may or may not be any truth in the ‘big club, different rules’ fan conspiracy that’s been around as long as the Premier League, but perhaps Moyes ought to pick his words a little more carefully to prevent fueling that particular fire.

Follow Ben Weeks on Twitter here.

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