West Ham manager David Moyes has demanded that his players need to be 'protected' when Southampton visit the London Stadium on Saturday, insisting that the club can't afford a repeat of the recent crowd trouble during their match with Burnley.
Roughly 20 fans have received lifetime bans for their part in the disruption in east London during a 3-0 defeat to Sean Dyche's side.
There are already growing concerns that there could be a repeat of what happened three weeks ago but Moyes has called on the club's stewards to better protect the West Ham players.
"The players have to in some way be protected from these sorts of situations," Moyes said ahead of the game, as quoted by the Mirror. "I saw the FA Cup with Wigan and Manchester City (when Sergio Aguero was confronted by a fan). People are running on the pitch to the players now!"
The West Ham faithful could see their side suffer a 1,000th top flight defeat if they lose to Mark Hughes's side this weekend, a result that could fuel any potential crowd trouble even further.
Just read that The tax payer will pay £60k for the extra security at The West Ham game on Saturday as part of the stadium agreement. Sticks in my craw as messers gold and Sullivan should be footing that bill not reaping the benefits of a big crowd. Wrong wrong— darren bremner (@darrenbremner) March 29, 2018
Moyes also claimed that it was West Ham's ambition to sign 'really good international players" to the club during the upcoming transfer windows, but the Scotsman warned that attracting Europe's best players would be tough if the atmosphere around the club doesn't improve.
"I want this club to appeal to really good international players," he continued. "I don’t think what happened against Burnley is going to make those players want to join us. So I’m saying we’ve got to show why top players should want to come here."