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The England international was deemed to have been fouled by the Magpies' man, who subsequently argued with referee Stuart Attwell before free-kick set up home side's winning goal


Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has defended Joey Barton after the midfielder furiously argued with referee Stuart Attwell during his side's 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa.

Barton fouled Ashley Young to give away the free-kick that set up James Collins' 26th minute header to secure all three points for Gerard Houllier's side, but the former Manchester City man insisted that the England winger had gone down far too easily.

Now Pardew has come to the defence of Barton, stating that Young is always likely to go to ground if he feels even the slightest of contact.

He said: "Young's the most fouled player in the division. You touch him, he goes down - and it was such a slight touch. That's what Joey was unhappy about.

"We talked about it before the match, so it is disappointing to lose a goal in that way.

"Joey is going to argue decisions and make his opinion felt if he thinks he has been wronged.

"He wasn't at his best, by Joey's standards."

However, despite his disappointment in the result, Pardew praised his players for a committed performance from a squad suffering heavily from injury.

He added: "We were committed against a nervous Villa but missed some core players and that affected us."

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