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United youngster must “be like Messi”

Sascha-Riether-stamps-Adnan-Januzaj-2676590David Moyes has demanded protection for Adnan Januzaj, but has told the Belgian teenager that he can expect to be on the receiving end of some rough treatment and must learn from Lionel Messi’s example when it comes to handle late tackles and unorthodox strategies.

Januzaj was stamped on by Sascha Riether at Fulham on Saturday, with the German full-back now charged with violent conduct by the FA, after he appeared to intentionally leave his studs on Januzaj’s leg as the Belgian defended the ball by the corner flag in Fulham’s defensive third of the pitch, late in the second half.

Moyes missed the incident, as did referee Lee Probert, but after seeing the replay he believes the Fulham full-back deliberately attacked Januzaj to try and intimidate the 18-year-old, who has been on the receiving end of some rough treatments over the last couple of games, with Southampton’s Jose Fonte and Stoke City’s Stephen Ireland and Wilson Palacios among the main culprits.

“I hadn’t seen it until after the game, the view from the dugout made it impossible to see, but it’s a bad stamp and it does look deliberate,” said Moyes.

“It’s over now but I do think Adnan is going to need a little bit more protection or we are going to find he is getting kicked up and down. I do think he deserves a little bit more than he is getting at this time.”

The United manager wants Januzaj to grow thick-skinned against the rough treatment he’s likely to be subject to in the future, rather than respond with theatrics, and believes Barcelona’s  Argentine star provides the perfect example for the 18-year-old.

“We have spoken to him about it. I have got to say he gets kicked up and down in training every day and gets on with it. He’s learned from the good professionals that he’s got to get on with it,” said Moyes.

“He only needs to look at Lionel Messi who is probably the best in the world at getting kicked, getting up and getting on with it and continuing to produce magic all the time. I’m not in any way comparing Adnan to Lionel Messi, so don’t be saying that, but I’m certainly saying the way Lionel Messi gets up after being kicked, we hope that’s the way Adnan continues to behave too.

“But 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.”