David Moyes has called for Adnan Januzaj to get more protection from referees after his rough treatment against Fulham at the weekend that culminated in Sascha Riether’s violent stamp which he has now been charged for.
Up against Premier League defenders who take a no nonsense approach, Januzaj has been the second most fouled player in the Premier League and he has quickly had to adapt to the physicality of the league which is so fierce.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference for Real Sociedad, Moyes slammed Riether’s tackle and believes that Januzaj deserves better protection from the referees.
“I hadn’t seen it until after the game,” he said.
“The distance we were away made it impossible to take it in. It’s a bad stamp and it does look deliberate.
“But that’s for the referee to deal with on the day or, if nowadays they look at it differently, they can decide afterwards.
“I do think Adnan may need a bit of protection. He’s getting kicked so I think he deserves a bit more protection than what he’s getting at this present moment in time.”
Moyes went on to cite Lionel Messi as the perfect example for Adnan Januzaj to follow because of his sheer determination to not let defenders’ physical approach to the game stop from doing what he does best.
Messi doesn’t get intimidated by brawly opposition and simply shrugs it off to carry on, something which has helped him become the player he is today and Moyes wants Januzaj to use that same approach.
“We’ve spoken to Adnan about it,” Moyes added.
“He gets kicked in training every day and he gets up.
“He’s learnt from the good professionals that he has to get on with it and accept it. He only needs to look at Messi, who is the best in the world at getting kicked and then getting on with it and continuing to produce magic.
“I’m certainly not comparing him in any way to Lionel Messi but the way Messi gets up after getting kicked is how we hope Adnan behaves.
“It’s not a case of asking for protection but, somewhere along the line, if he’s going to keep playing the way he’s playing, then he’s going to need to get some protection. We’ll never ask for it – it’s up to the referees.”
United fans who followed Januzaj in his rise through the academy would know that he was never a diver so it was a surprise to see him go down and get booked for a dive against Sunderland, but sometimes the pressure of football can get to a player.
Moyes’ reference to Januzaj being kicked around in training sounds harsh but it is a tried and tested method at Old Trafford. Ronaldo had the same treatment on the training ground as Januzaj is currently getting and look how that turned out.
Januzaj is an honest player and diving will never be an aspect that smears his image, but he needs to strengthen up and be able to ride more challenges. That will come in time and when it does, nobody will be able to stop the lad.