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Barton defends tackle after Ligue 1 debut

Controversial midfielder Joey Barton is already making a stir in France, after appearing to stamp on an opponent in his Ligue 1 debut.

Barton was sent on loan to Marseille after disgracing himself last season for parent club Queens Park Rangers.

He earned a red card and a 12-match ban from the Football Association for an ugly confrontation with Manchester City players on the final day of the last English Premier League campaign.

The former City and Newcastle United man, who served time in prison for assault in 2008, has appeared in the Europa League for Marseille but had to wait to make his Ligue 1 debut due to the domestic ban carrying over to the French championship.

Marseille defeated Lille 1-0 in the match at the Stade Velodrome, and Barton was fortunate to avoid a red card after an alleged stamp on opposition player Florent Balmont.

Facing the media after the game, Barton played down the significance of the incident.

“I’m English,” he said.

“We play the game aggressively and it’s normal for us. This is my fifth game in Marseille from the Europa League and it just happens to be a tackle in the first (league) game but I’m surprised that people in France speak about this.

“It’s normal in England and maybe it takes me one or two games to adapt but for me it’s not a problem.”

Violent conduct aside, Barton’s media appearance has raised eyebrows, with the player adopting a curious Anglo-French accent, despite speaking in English.

The press conference has drawn comparisons with Steve McLaren’s notorious Dutch-influenced accent heard during an interview in his first spell in charge of FC Twente.

Barton later defended his behaviour on Twitter.

“In my defence, it is very difficult to do a press conference in Scouse for a room full of French journalists,” he said.

“The alternative is to speak like a (sic) ‘Allo ‘Allo! character which is choose (sic). Its simply a case of you had to be there.

“I am christening this new language Bartonese.”

Mon 26 November, 2012
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