West Ham manager David Moyes defends players over coronavirus breaches

Scot insists footballers are in danger of being treated unfairly, accusing some accusers of 'throwing stones in glass houses'

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West Ham United manager David Moyes has defended footballers amid calls for tougher punishments over Covid-19 breaches.

Hammers midfielder Manuel Lanzini has apologised and made a donation to an east London foodbank after breaking coronavirus protocols over Christmas.

The 27-year-old Argentine had been pictured at a party along with Tottenham Hotspur's Erik Lamela, Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon.

Lanzini is one of long list of Premier League players found to have ignored guidelines over the festive period that includes Manchester City full-back Benjamin Mendy and Serbian duo Luka Milivojevic and Aleksandar Mitrovic, of Crystal Palace and Fulham, respectively.

Moyes, though, insists players are in danger of being targeted unfairly. "Well, if you are going to take tough measures on players, then you might as well take on the Government people as well who have broken the rules because it's certainly not just football players who have done it," the Scot said.

"You have got to be careful. A lot of people are throwing stones in glass houses at the moment regarding this. We all know what the protocols are, we all know we have to be ever-vigilant and make sure we're doing the right things.

"But we can all make mistake as well. Manuel Lanzini understood he made a mistake, he has apologised for it, he's made a donation to the foodbanks for what he's done and I think it was a really good gesture.

"But you've got to be careful. There are a lot of people out there who are claiming that things should be different and I think the players are doing a remarkable job to keep football going, keep them playing.

"Now and again, they will make mistakes, there's no doubt about that."

Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v West Ham United - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - January 1, 2021 West Ham United's Manuel Lanzini reacts Pool via REUTERS/Alex Pantling EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details.

Moyes' comments came a day after Newcastle counterpart Steve Bruce questioned the morality of continuing to play amid rising case numbers in both football and society in general. "Financially it's right to play on, but for me, morally, it's probably wrong," said the Magpies manager.

"I understand people want to see a game of football but we are just as vulnerable as everybody else.

"The speed which it hit our club within hours of each other, it was quite incredible how it rips through you. It's difficult to contain and stop and it leaves people sick."

When asked about those comments, Moyes said: "I've got a lot of agreement with what Steve has said, but my real feeling is that football is playing such a big part in a lot of people's lives.

"Unfortunately everybody's at home at the moment, we're in lockdown and I think the football is helping many people.

"We chose to come back last year, we thought it was the right thing to do to get football back and from that point of view, I'm happy football is back.

"But we have to remember that the players are the ones taking risks every week. They continue playing, they have to go back to their families, so we have to say that the players are the ones out there who are taking a lot of risks."

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