Ben Mee has applauded Burnley’s fortitude after his team-mates rose above the chaos to claim three points against West Ham United at the London Stadium.
Ashley Barnes’s opener after the hour against the Hammers sparked pandemonium as thousands of home supporters remonstrated vociferously against the club’s board.
As protests became more toxic, with fans encroaching on the playing area, while others scuffled in the stands, owners David Sullivan and David Gold had to be escorted to safety by security, with the latter reduced to tears.
But the Clarets, unmoved by proceedings in the capital, soldiered on and substitute Chris Wood scored twice to seal a 21st point on the road this term and preserve seventh place in the Premier League.
“It was different, it wasn’t a nice environment at the end,” said Mee. “You can understand the frustrations around the place, it’s not really going their way at the minute.
“It’s just one of them that we had to focus on and see the game out as professionally as we could.
“There had been things happening around this club but you never know what’s going to happen.
“The frustration is there, you can tell, and you have sympathy for the fans, but it’s difficult when they’re running on the pitch. It shouldn’t really happen. We had to remain professional to see the job out.”
While the Clarets displayed their quality on the field, eclipsing last season’s points tally in the process, the club also showed its class off the pitch.
Both players and staff have received plenty of recognition on social media for their actions amidst the turmoil, rescuing young children from the skirmish and offering them a place on the bench.
Midfielder Jeff Hendrick, replaced by record signing Wood in the 61st minute, also gave one of the youngsters his boots.
“It was worse in the stands I believe,” said the 28-year-old centre back. “There was obviously some concern for those in the stands who weren’t involved, it’s never nice to get caught up in it, but some of our lads helped their fans out so credit to them for doing that. You just have to do whatever you can.
“I asked him [Lee Mason] ‘what should we do if it gets worse?’ He told me that he’d take the players off the pitch and ensure that the lads’ safety came first.
“It could’ve been worse, there were a few people running on the pitch, but it wasn’t as bad as what it could have been.
“We had a job to do and we were two or three goals up at that time. There wasn’t long left in the game and we knew that we could see the game out.”
Mee added: “I thought we played really well in the second half. We didn’t get going in the first half so we obviously wanted to come out and play a lot better. I thought we used the ball really well and Woody coming on really changed the game for us.
“We went one or two up and I think their heads went down. Our fitness really showed and we were really at it in the second half.
“We were a lot more alert than them in the second half. We were really professional about it.”