The 'inner chimp' did it: Barton explains Manchester City red card

The Marseille midfielder's last-day red card for elbowing Carlos Tevez and scuffling with two other players earned him a 12-match ban but he insists that he wasn't himself
Marseille midfielder Joey Barton has blamed his violent actions on the final day of 2011-12 Premier League campaign on his "inner chimp".

Barton, who has been loaned to the French side from parent club QPR for the season, was shown a straight red card for elbowing Carlos Tevez before violently squaring up to Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany as the Rs lost 3-2 to Manchester City.

But the 30-year-old, who still has nine games of his 12-match suspension to serve as a result of his actions in the dramatic season climax, insists that he was not in control of himself at the time.

"I completely let myself down but it's not a rational situation," he told GQ Style of the incident.

"I knew we could be relegated, they could win the league and I'm captain. There's a bit of a media spotlight on me so if we go down, I'm going to take a lot of s***.

"I was already getting it on Twitter so pressure started building and I didn't handle it well. My inner chimp doesn't work well with injustice, it reacts too quickly.

"Tevez has done what he’s done, I have reacted and the aftermath is ... I look at it now and it's almost like it's not me. I'm like: 'What the f*** were you thinking?'
"At the time in some weird way I thought it was the correct way but, looking at it now, I know it wasn't. I've got to learn a lesson from that. The thing it reiterated to me was just how far I am from the person I want to be."

Barton added that, during a spell in prison in 2008 after a conviction for assault and affray, he had spent time in anger-management classes as well as addiction support groups.

"I was on a journey and I have a really inquisitive mind so I wanted to learn more. I used to go to AA meetings just because I was interested in what people were saying," he told the magazine.

"I even went to NA meetings and I've never touched a drug in my life. Anything that gets you out of your cell is a bonus."