Burnley manager Sean Dyche did not feel his players were in danger after West Ham fans invaded the London Stadium pitch during his side’s 3-0 Premier League win.
Ashley Barnes broke the deadlock after 66 minutes, at which point fan frustrations with the Hammers board boiled over, with a number of fans running onto the field.
Chris Wood came on to set up Barnes’ goal and the New Zealand international added a brace of his own, each strike prompting additional ugly scenes, with some young children taking refuge on the Burnley bench to apparently escape unrest in the stands.
West Ham midfielder Mark Noble tussled with one intruder, while Barnes also confronted a fan – actions Dyche felt were entirely understandable in the context of a regrettable situation.
Asked whether he was concerned over player safety being in jeopardy, Dyche told a news conference: “No, I don’t think so. I’ve been around football long enough. If people come on the pitch I can’t imagine they’re trying to be dangerous towards players.
“They’ve got their own agenda, they’re unhappy with the club or what’s going on. I don’t think the players felt like that.
“I think it’s a tough situation for a player. No one wants to ideally see fans on the pitch but they get frustrated.
“I don’t think there’s any malice in Noble getting hold of someone and Barnesy. They’re just trying to say, ‘Come on, just get off the pitch’.
“A few of the players have tried to guide people off the pitch. Whatever’s going on, let’s at least get on with the game.
“It’s one of those things and hopefully there’ll be better times ahead for West Ham and they don’t see that.”
Burnley displayed a ruthless streak as the situation deteriorated around them and Dyche was impressed by his team’s composure in utterly surreal circumstances.
“The atmosphere was weird then, it’s gone from one extreme to the other,” he added.
“We scored a top goal, a great pass from Matt Lowton and a fine lay-off [by Wood]. It’s a brilliant finish but the lay-off is fantastic because it’s just pure. And then Barnesy, it’s a hell of a strike.
“Then we score a second and the atmosphere changes again. At that point our players just had to keep doing what they were doing and keep an eye on what was going on.”
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